Two survivors of separate attacks by the soldiers charged with the racially motivated murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane have asked the Maltese state for financial compensation.
Ibrahim Bah, who was shot moments after the soldiers killed Cisse Souleymane, urged President George Vella to help him and his friend Mohammed Diallo, who was also shot.
“My friend is very angry because he may have to undergo another operation,” Bah told Lovin Malta. “He has a doctor’s appointment next month when a decision will be taken whether to re-operate him or not. My friend and I want the President of the Republic to help us. We want him to make sure that we are treated properly and that the Maltese state takes care of us.”
Vella has already intervened in this case, issuing a special order that allowed the Armed Forces to instantly suspend Lorin Scicluna and Francesco Fenech.
He expressed his shock upon finding out that the two accused were soldiers.
“They are criminals and they deserve the death penalty because they killed someone just because he was black,” Bah said. “If they were civilians, that would have been one thing, but these are soldiers. They are supposed to protect people, not kill them. This is dangerous for the country that welcomes many foreigners.”
Mohammed Diallo wasn’t instantly available for a reaction, because the police have taken his mobile phone for the purpose of the murder investigation.
However, May Malimi Rozi, a Chadian teenager who the two soldiers allegedly ran over last February, has said he wants compensation from the soldiers.
“I’m glad they found Lassana’s killers, but I didn’t receive any compensation,” he said. “My arm was broken and I couldn’t do anything. As I don’t speak English, it’s difficult for me to complain to the police, but I want compensation from the two soldiers for what they did to me.”
Ibrahim Coulibaly, a friend of Cisse Souleymane, said he is hurt by the perceived lack of interest that the Ivorian embassy has shown in the case.
“I saw on social media that the two soldiers who had murdered Lassana had been caught,” he said. “It’s scary, especially seeing as young people in a car had stoned me with bottles while I was walking back from work in Sliema to go to Msida.”
“And what hurts the most is that the Ivorian embassy is not interested in us,” he continued. “If they had traveled to at least meet someone from Lassana’s entourage here in Malta to identify the body, the family would have received confirmation from the authorities that this is their son. It would have allowed them to grieve.”
Since the two soldiers were arrested last weekend, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has been vociferously campaigning against hate speech and in favour of cultural integration. During a meeting with representatives of Malta’s migrant communities yesterday, Muscat said that the public mood with regards migrants has shifted since the two soldiers were arrested.
“If it was acceptable last week to tolerate people venting far-right comments on the media, it is not acceptable anymore,” he said. “Jokes or perceived jokes which would have made people laugh until last week are no longer acceptable.”
Clarisse Bolonga is a visiting journalist working on the case of Lassana Cisse Souleymane. If you have any useful information, please email [email protected]
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