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Nigerian Student Disappears after Odesa Yacht Party in Ukraine, Causing International Scandal

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By Natalia Datskevych

Nigerians are alleging racism after a recent Nigerian graduate of a Ukrainian university disappeared while taking a boat trip in Odesa.

Caleb Obari, 20, had just graduated from Ukraine’s Sumy State Agrarian University when he attended a yacht party at the invitation of a woman in the southern city of Odesa on Aug. 20. He never returned.

A week later, neither rescuers of the State Emergency Service nor the police had found the young man. That caused an international outcry, Ukrainian public broadcaster Suspilne (UA TV) reported.

Several days after Obari disappeared, Nigerian users on social media started sharing posts with #JusticeforCaleb and #BlackLivesMatter hashtags.

“The unfortunate disappearance of this young (man) won’t be taken lightly,” wrote Ekemini-Abasi Okon, head of Nigerian Student Union Ukraine on his Facebook page.  “I urge all relevant authorities to look into why he disappeared, who made him disappear and within the shortest possible time!” The National Police in Odesa Oblast opened criminal proceedings under the premeditated murder statute and reported that experts will make “all necessary examinations if the body is found, including the cause of death.”

The boat set sail from the Sauvignon yacht club in Odesa and went four kilometers out from the coast, but returned back without the Nigerian.

Caleb Obari, a recent Nigerian graduate of a Ukrainian university, disappeared while taking a boat trip in Odesa on Aug. 20, 2020.Photo by Search platform “911”/Facebook

According to the Odesa volunteer group called Rescue Platform 911, Obari’s friend waited for him after the party was over, but the only thing he got was Obari’s personal belongings and phone without any explanations of what happened at sea.  

Obari’s parents are in limbo too. They are asking for help to find their missing son.

“We are not comfortable at all. We don’t sleep,” said Caleb’s father Mark in an Instagram video posted by the ‘Foreigners in the Ukraine’ community. He called on the Nigerian student community in Ukraine to act as one since “it could happen to anyone.”

According to Alexander Sopelnik, head of Rescue Platform 911, Obari was invited to the party by Vera Topalova, owner of the Odesa BDSM-themed bar Iznanka, and he was the only foreigner among the other nine Ukrainian passengers.

Topalova did not respond to the Kyiv Post’s request for comment.

While the police announced they had opened criminal proceedings, Sopelnik from the 911 platform accused the National Police of unwillingness to search for the missing man. He said that the police did not make any public statements about a missing man on the day when Obari disappeared, but only on Aug. 25.

“The police are trying to whitewash themselves in order to hide the fact of the crime,” said Sopelnik.

Credits | Kyiv Post

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