House of Ghanaian pensioner in Belfast vandalised in racial hate crime

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Mr Kyeremateng, 65, stands outside his vandalised house

A 65-year-old pensioner living in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has been left in a state of fear after having white paint thrown over his home in a racist attack.

Adu Kyeremateng, originally from Ghana, has lived in Northern Ireland for eight years. He moved to his current home in west Belfast in September 2014.

On Sunday morning Mr Kyeremateng, who was asleep when the attack occurred, woke up to the smell of paint. Soon he discovered that paint had been thrown over the doors and windows of his home.

The pensioner is now desperate to leave the place he had called home “as soon as possible,” terrified about what could happen to him if he stays.

"I'm scared, I want to get out. That's why I'm going to check out houses tomorrow, I can't continue like this," said the 65-year-old. Considering what could happen if he does not leave, Mr Kyeremateng said: "Maybe this night they are coming with guns? I don't know.”

Mr Kyeremateng has also expressed his bewilderment as to why anyone would want to target him, a pensioner who keeps himself to himself. He said, "I haven't done anything to anybody so I don't see why I should be threatened." He continued, "I live here peacefully. I don't have any conflict with anybody.”

This is not the first time that the Ghanaian-born pensioner has suffered racist abuse in Northern Ireland. "In October, a guy confronted me in the street and asked what I was doing here. He told me he hoped I wouldn't be here for long," recalled Mr Kyeremateng. He added, “That time was very bad, but [the attack on his house] is worse. It's horrifying.”

Over the last few years there has been a sharp increase in the number of racist attacks taking place in Northern Ireland, mostly taking place in loyalist areas, of which Greater Belfast is the main area.

Last year the annual report by the Northern Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities revealed that there were 982 racist incidents in 2013-14, up from 750 incidents in the previous year.

The report also showed that three-quarters of all complaints to the equality commission in Northern Ireland about harassment in public spaces were related to racist intimidation and abuse.

Despite Northern Ireland being home to only 1% of all the non-EU/EEA migrants who have come into the UK over the past year, the region has become one of the worst spots for racial hate-motivated crimes in the UK.

Police have confirmed the attack upon Mr Kyeremateng’s house, which occurred between 04:00 and 07:00 GMT on Sunday morning, is being treated as a hate crime and have appealed for anyone with information to contact police.

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