Axe attack on family
A Nigerian woman who narrowly avoided injury when an axe was thrown through the front window of her home says it is not the first time her family has been targeted.
Adenike Yisa, a single mother of two, was asleep on the sofa of her house in the Sandy Row area at around 2am on Wednesday when the axe smashed through her front window.
Ms Yisa's five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter were asleep in the upstairs of the house at the time of the incident.
The family have only been living in the Fleet Street house for the past 12 months but Ms Yisa said she has lived in Belfast for over 10 years.
"I was in a deep sleep and I heard a loud bang and at first thought it was gunshots so I dove onto the floor to try and protect myself behind the seat," she told the Community Telegraph.
"When I registered the sound of the broken glass all I could do was scream as loudly as possible because I was frightened that they would come in or put something in the hole.
"I was screaming and panicking so much that I couldn't even use my phone to call for help and I couldn't see anything that was going on outside.
"It wasn't until after when I peeked through the living room door that I realised that there was an axe lying on the floor and how close the broken glass had been to where I was asleep."
Unfortunately it is not the first time the family has been targeted: only a few days after they had moved into the house their windows were marked with racist graffiti saying "no n*****s welcome in south Belfast". Ms Yisa says at the time they dismissed it as drunken youths.
Although terrified by the incident, Ms Yisa says she will not be forced out of the area and even sent her son to his primary school after the night's trauma.
"We have no intention of moving. We are happy here and these threats are being made by people that are living in the past," said Ms Yisa. "It is a free world and across the world there are people living in different countries that are free from being victimised for their race.
"For someone to attack a house knowing that their were children sleeping in their beds and in such a cowardly way are not fit to be human beings in my eyes.
"We just hope now that the police will be able to catch whoever is responsible and we can get back to our normal lives."
The PSNI have confirmed they are treating the incident as a hate crime and have removed the weapon for forensic investigation.
Eddie Kelly, a community safety officer for Sandy Row, said he was shocked to hear of the attack and that it was it was not an issue usually associated with the area.
"Niki came in to see me this morning and told me of the event and I was shocked to hear it," he said. "That was the first time I had heard of the previous attack and the family are quiet and keep to themselves.
"We have strong community links in the area and while you might hear of racist attacks in other areas its not something that we have difficulty with.
"From talking to local businesses and neighbours this morning there is a sense of shock and disgust and we have offered our help and support to the family.
"Hopefully the police will be able to locate whoever is responsible and deal with them accordingly."