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Panaji: Indian police in Goa said Wednesday they had arrested a local man over the killing of a Nigerian, whose death has triggered protests and heightened tensions in the holiday state.

An Indian in his mid-thirties was detained on Tuesday night in north Goa, accused of being part of a gang which stabbed the Nigerian to death last week, a senior police official told AFP, adding further arrests were expected soon.

Tensions have been rising in the western resort state since the man was found dead on 30 October, with police blaming the killing on rivalry between local and Nigerian drug traffickers.

Nigeria told India on Tuesday that it feared for the safety of its nationals in Goa and called for immediate action against those responsible for the killing.

Goan police arrested 53 Nigerians last week after around 200 of them staged a protest against the killing, chasing a police hearse carrying the corpse and laying the body on the road.

Following the demonstration, which blocked Goa’s main highway for several hours, Goa’s chief minister Manohar Parrikar asked police to track down Nigerians living illegally in the former Portuguese colony so that they could be deported.

After the protest, a minister in the state’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party government, Dayanand Mandrekar, stirred more controversy by saying: “Nigerians are like cancer".

Nigeria’s high commission (embassy) issued a diplomatic note and demanded on Tuesday that the security of its nationals be assured.

“We have lost one of our nationals in a cold-blooded murder," said commission press spokesman Tokunbo Falohun, calling for justice and compensation for the family of the dead man.

The previous day, another high commission official warned of repercussions against Indians living in Nigeria unless Goa stopped “evicting Nigerians" from the coastal state and caught the killers.

The Indian community numbers around 35,000 in Nigeria, according to the Indian foreign ministry website.

Asked if there would be any “repercussions" from the murder, Falohun said Tuesday there would be none if Indian authorities dealt properly with the matter.

The Indian government said it was in touch with Abuja, and added that Nigeria has sought an official probe.

“Obviously, the Nigerian high commission is concerned and there is a sense of anguish at what may have happened to some of their nationals," said foreign ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin.

“They have requested us to carry out a thorough investigation and to bring to book those who are involved in the death of a Nigerian national and the consequent issues that followed from that."

The spokesman said the foreign ministry has asked the local government in Goa for an investigation and the state administration has promised to send a report to New Delhi by Friday.

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