A Nigerian refugee who is believed to have fled from the Boko Haram terrorist group was killed by an Italian "ultra" football fan after his wife was racially abused, say reports. Emmanuel Chidi Namdi died of his injuries after he was attacked in Fermo, a small town in central Italy, on Wednesday 6 July.

Reports from Italy claim the 36-year-old was attacked with a steel bar after he stepped in to defend his 24-year-old wife who was called an "African monkey" by a local man. The accused is Amedeo Mancini, 35, whose alleged attack on Namdi was said to have left him in a coma before being pronounced dead.

Italian police who arrested Mancini described him as an "ultra", which is an extremist football fan not necessarily linked to violence. Two conflicting stories seemed to have emerged after the incident with some reports suggesting friends of Mancini believe he was attacked first.

Other reports say Namdi was struck first with a street sign ripped out of the pavement, then kicked, says the Guardian.

The killing has seen senior government figures react against the hate crime. On Thursday 7 July Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, said on Twitter: "Today the government is in Fermo with Father Vinicio and local institutions in memory of Emmanuel. Against hate, racism and violence."

His lawyer, Francesco De Minicis, told the Ansa news agency that Mancini had not intended to kill the Nigerian. "Amedeo Mancini is destroyed with pain. He did not want to kill, and he expresses his closeness to those who are crying for Emmanuel.

"My client did not expect that punching the migrant would have this effect, and he places the episode in a defensive context."

A parish in Fermo town were said to have been hosting Namdi and his wife, Chimiary, while they sought asylum. They are said to have escaped the clutches of the murderous Boko Haram by travelling through Niger then Libya before boarding a boat to Italy.

Italian authorities estimate that Nigerian immigrants make up around 12% of the 70,000 plus people who have arrived by sea in 2016. The second-largest nationality to make the journey after Eritreans.

Emmanuel Chidi Namdi
Emmanuel Chidi Namdi (L) and his wife (R) Chimiary were staying in the small Italian town of Fermo. Facebook