Mass unrest unfolds, as 8-year-old girl found dead, police dogs aim at member of gypsy community
Pogrom - something that wasn't present in Ukraine for decades - happened in Odesa region in southern Ukraine. Locals forced eviction of Romas, then ransacked and burned their houses. A wave of unrest burst out after one of the gypsy men was announced suspected of assaulting and killing a child.
8-year-old Angelina was raped and killed on Friday, August 26th. Her dead body with numerous wounds was found early on Saturday. Canine handlers arrived from Odesa to search for the possible murderer. Service dogs lead the police straight to the house of the suspected gypsy man. He was a close friend of Angelina's step-father.
Oleksandr Matiazh, step-father of killed girl: He left his flat cap at the crime scene, and the dog picked up the trail. When the police enter his house, he was asleep, all his body stained with blood. He did not say a single word because he was drunk. Earlier no one has ever noticed anything suspicious in his behaviour. Neither could anyone imagine such evil...
Police officers immediately arrested 22-year-old Mykhaylo and took him away from the village. Neither he nor his relatives cop his plea. His mother insists her son is unable to commit such a flagrant crime.
Meanwhile, local residents furiously attacked the houses resided by members of the Roma community. Dozens of buildings have been destroyed or burnt overnight. Almost all the gypsies had left the village a couple of hours before the unrest. Locals forced the authorities to evict Romas. In order to avoid further disturbances, the head of Odesa regional police department personally arrived at the site. In the morning, additional police groups came to the village and installed checkpoints at the outskirts. In the meantime, local residents gather near the club and discuss the upcoming perspectives. They insist no single gypsy must return to Loshchynivka.
Oksana Glinko, local resident: We have been living in constant fear. A gypsy kid could insult adult people. And if anyone dared to scold them for bad manners, their gypsy parents cursed everyone and threatened to burn everything here.
Having noticed some gypsies returning home people threaten to commit lynch law. The police officers explain there have been numerous complaints from the members of the gypsy community. Several criminal cases have been brought to action, but no results yet to be reported.
Vadym Mohyla, head of criminal police: We have considered all the complaints against gypsy people. The majority of them have led to criminal cases that are currently underway. However, we cannot explain to the local residents that it is impossible to immediately punish the guilty. Sometimes it may take from 6 to 12 months.
Currently, the public order in Odesa region is under the severe control of the police officers. The suspected man is under arrest. Meanwhile, the coroners are conducting the forensic investigation of the child's corpse. If suspected Mykhaylo is proven guilty, he may be sentenced to 15 years behind bars.