Russia, François Ndjelassil

Family Of African Ph.D. Student Slain In Russia Searching For Answers, Suspect Denies His Affiliation With White Supremacy Group

The family and loved ones of Gabonese-born doctoral student François Ndjelassili have been searching for answers following his untimely death in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Now, the family of Daniil Fomin, the man allegedly responsible for Ndjelassili’s murder, has denied his affiliation with a Russian white supremacist group, The Moscow Times reports.

The Ural Federal University student was reportedly approached by three men who called him a “negro” before being stabbed outside a Burger King by two men in August 2023, according to Atlanta Black Star. Ndjelassili was said to be flirting with a woman when the men who accompanied her began to harass him. After the altercation spilled outside the fast food chain, Fomin allegedly stabbed Ndjelassili in the armpit.

Diana Akue, a friend of the former doctoral economics student, was present during the incident and has spent the last few months grappling with what she believes to be a race-based killing.

“We are all very scared, but we are at the same time angry,” she said. “As we’re not in our country, all we can do is just to be careful. But we are very scared because of what happened.”

After news of Ndjelassili’s death spread through Russia, a neo-Nazi channel with close to 4,000 subscribers began posting calls for support for his alleged killer.

“Our Ural colleague Danya Fomin has run into trouble … A lawyer needs to be found as quickly as possible, but Daniil’s family doesn’t have the money. Therefore, I consider it our duty to help him collect the needed amount,” a post from the channel read.

Fomin’s family vehemently denied his association with the group and expressed that they’d been covering his legal fees. However, for the more than 34,000 students from African countries currently studying in Russia, the potential ramifications of a hate crime against one of their community members has rattled them with fear.

“If it’s true the killer was really from that white supremacist group, then who knows what could happen after the court ruling? These guys could get very upset about it,” Akue said.