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Photo by: Ben Hartman
Migrant deported 6 months after home firebombed
By BEN HARTMAN AND YONAH JEREMY BOB
12/06/2012
Exclusive: Nigerian daycare center manager deported after trying to renew visa following an attack on his home in south Tel Aviv.
 
A little over six months after he and his wife were targeted by a firebomb-wielding Israeli that scorched the daycare center they ran in south Tel Aviv, a Nigerian man was deported back home on an early morning flight on Wednesday.

Austin Akachukneu’s wife, Blessing, said that over the past three weeks he had gone back and forth for meetings with Interior Ministry officials to renew his work visa, which had expired a few months ago. She said he was also planning to undergo eye surgery next week to repair an eye that was gouged out in Nigeria during an attack in his village shortly before he came to Israel with Blessing three years ago.

Many Nigerians avoid deportation by hiding from government officials when they get notice that their visa has expired. Austin was arrested when he came forward to try to renew his visa through the standard channels.

On Wednesday morning he left the country with barely a chance to say goodbye to his wife or their two children, Blessing said.

When asked on Wednesday if she was afraid that she or her kids would be deported soon, Blessing, whose visa has expired, choked back tears and said: “They can do whatever they like, I’m not afraid of them anymore.”

It was unclear what would happen to the children in the daycare center without Austin there to help run it, and if Blessing gets deported.

The chief suspect in the string of firebombings that night late last April, Shapira neighborhood resident Haim Mula, remains free on bail.
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