Belfast Telegraph

Nigerian mum says racist thugs won't drive her out after hatchet is thrown through window of south Belfast home

BY CLAIRE GRAHAM

A Nigerian single mother is determined not to be forced from her home because of the colour of her skin.

Adeneke Yisa has been left distressed after she was showered with glass when her south Belfast home was attacked in the early hours of yesterday morning.

The mother-of-two was lying on a sofa in the living room when the window was smashed through at around 2am.

Pulling a blanket over her head, she ducked onto the carpet, fearing the loud noise that woke her was a gun shot.

However, it emerged an axe had been thrown through the window of her terraced house on Felt Street at around 2am.

But the defiant mum said she won't let the traumatic experience drive her away from the family's Sandy Row home.

Ms Yisa believes her family were targeted in a racist attack.

Police are treating the incident as a hate crime.

"I screamed as loud as I could, at the top of my voice, so whoever it was would know I was there.

"I threw myself behind the coffee table and little did I know I was so close to the axe on my floor.

"For minutes I couldn't move, my thoughts were 'My kids, my kids, my kids'.

"I have never felt fear like that. I thought I was dead, no one should have to go through this shock and trauma.

"I'm grateful my girl wasn't lying there with me. Sometimes when she wakes in the night and, if I'm still up, I'll let her fall asleep downstairs and carry her up when she's settled."

Ms Yisa said the hatchet was around 30cm in length with a blade of 6 inches.

It was thrown into a living room scattered with the children's toys, photos of the family and a high chair.

Adeneke told the Belfast Telegraph of her experiences being a Nigerian woman living in Belfast.

"I've had a lot of verbal abuse on the streets.

"But it's not me I worry about, it's my kids and I hope this sort of abuse and level of attack dies out by the time they grow up."

Her daughter (2) and son (4) were sleeping upstairs when the window was smashed.

They were born in the city after Ms Yisa moved to Northern Ireland 10 years ago "for a better life".

"My children are born and raised here, I do not want them terrified because of the colour of their skin."

STORY SO FAR

Hate crimes:

* In 2012/13 the PSNI recorded 1,372 sectarian incidents, 750 racist incidents, 246 homophobic incidents, 74 disability incidents, 22 faith/religion incidents and 15 transphobic incidents.

Racist incidents were up by 54 (7.8%).

* The definition for racially motivated incidents recommended by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry is "any incident, which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person".

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