A Nigerian man, Emmanuel Chidi Namdi and his wife, Chimiary, fled Boko Haram insurgency and had to battle extremist attacks and a harrowing journey to start a new life in Italian city, Fermo.
Boko Haram militants had attacked their church and they had to make a difficult journey from Nigeria to Italy last year.
Namdi, 36 who was out walking on the streets with his wife Chimiary was beaten to death in an attack this week as he tried to defend his wife against racist abuse.
HuffPost Italy reported that a man called Chimiary, 24, a “monkey” and tried to grab her on Tuesday according to local priest Vinicio Albanesi, a friend of the couple.
The husband was allegedly beaten into coma by a gang of extremist “ultras” soccer fans which resulted in his death on Wednesday.
The Italian police have arrested Amedeo Mancini, a 38-year-old Italian man who is part of the “ultras” on Thursday on suspicion of killing Namdi.
Mancini told investigators that he had insulted the couple because he thought they were stealing a car and therefore acted in self defense after Namdi attacked him.
The man’s wife told the priest that the attacker had bludgeoned her husband with a road sign and continued to beat him as he lay unconscious on the ground.
The couple had planned to wed in Nigeria, but when militants from the extremist group Boko Haram attacked their local church and killed several of their relatives, they fled.
Chimiary miscarried the baby along the way on their perilous journey to Europe over the Mediterranean sea, Albanesi said.
When they reached Sicily, in September they moved into a reception center run by a Catholic charity where an informal wedding ceremony was held for them.
Namdi’s death inspired an outpouring of condolences from officials and supporters around Italy this week and across the continent.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi tweeted early Thursday: “Today the government is in Fermo with Father Vinicio and local institutions in memory of Emmanuel. Against hate, racism and violence.”
Chimiary, dressed all in white, sang a Nigerian song of mourning on Wednesday evening as she led hundreds of mourners.
She sang: “God, where are you? Why do you leave me in this wicked world?” she said, explaining the lyrics in English. “It is very painful for me to stay alone. ... It is better for me to take my life for us to stay together.”
Italy’s interior minister, Angelino Alfano, announced on Thursday that Chimiary would be granted refugee status. “Italy isn’t represented by Amedeo Mancini,” Alfano said, calling Namdi’s death a “day of infinite sadness.”