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Assailants Attack Students in Russia

Assailants attacked Angolan, Bangladeshi and Chinese students in three separate weekend incidents, officials said Monday, the latest in a series of racially motivated assaults that underscore growing violent racism in Russia.

The Angolan student was attacked by several people in a subway station Sunday night. The 26-year-old was hospitalized with head injuries and knife wounds, said Desire Deffo, deputy head of the African Union in St. Petersburg. The student was in satisfactory condition Monday.

Deffo said the Angolan student reported that the assailants looked like skinheads, and the Interfax news agency reported that at least two people were detained.

A fifth-year medical student from Bangladesh was attacked Saturday by a group of people near a subway station in the north of the city. Mozibul Haque, the head of the Bangladeshi community in St. Petersburg, said the student was hospitalized with head wounds.

Also Saturday, a group of unknown people beat a Chinese student from the St. Petersburg Music Conservatory on the city's main avenue, Nevsky Prospect. The student was also hospitalized with head wounds, Interfax said.

No one answered the phones at the police department Monday.

Deffo said racial attacks had become more frequent in St. Petersburg in recent months, leaving foreigners afraid to walk the streets. He blamed inaction by law enforcement agencies.

"Many attackers remain without punishment and feel they can keep doing it," he said.

Racist attacks on Jews, dark-skinned foreigners and people from Russia's North Caucasus have become increasingly frequent in Russia's big cities, reflecting a rise in xenophobia and racism. Non-government experts estimate about 50,000 skinheads are active in Russia.

(Chinadaily.com via agencies March 29, 2005)

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