The murder of a Lassana Cisse Souleymane, a 42-year-old man from the Ivory Coast, has sent shockwaves throughout the migrant community in Malta, with authorities treating the case as possibly racially-motivated.
As police investigate the theory that Lassana was murdered in a random drive-by shooting in a country side road in Birżebbuġa – a road that is reportedly becoming known for racially motivated attacks – it is important not to forget the person whose life was snuffed out without rhyme or reason.
Lassana, an enthusiast of African music and dance, had been living in Malta for at least four years
He had worked in a number of jobs around the island, with his most recent job being in construction.
Having grown up in the Ivory Coast, he was a native French speaker, often uploading statuses in French
Speaking to Lovin Malta, a migrant community leader said that the death of Lassana had “scared” them, especially since “we don’t know what happened exactly”.
The Ivory Coast migrant community are now awaiting word from their Embassy on how to move forward from this tragedy: “We don’t have a choice – we are going to see what the Embassy is going to tell us, to see what we can do”.
In regards to Triq tal-Ġebel, the road where the murder took place, the community leader said they were very much aware of the road, with crimes having occurred against migrants on the road as far back as five years ago.
“It is dangerous for migrants,” he said.
A migrant-empowerment group has expressed solidarity with the community, condemning the “hatred” that led to the murder
“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with the community and family of Lassana Cisse, who was murdered last Saturday in what is suspected to be a racially motivated action,” Ħal Far Outreach said in a post. “We stand with the community in Ħal-Far and strongly condemn any form of hatred, xenophobia, racism, or discrimination.”
PN MEP candidate Michael Briguglio took to Facebook to express his grief over the “macabre” attack
And PN MEP Roberta Metsola also condemned the senseless killing
It is chilling that there is a serious possibility that this murder & drive-by shootings in #Malta were racially motivated.
— Roberta Metsola MEP (@RobertaMetsola) April 9, 2019
Cover photo inset: TVM