An outpouring of grief, anger, and denial is consuming the family of Lassana Cisse Souleymane following the arrest of two soldiers allegedly responsible for the drive-by murder.
“It’s not true, my husband is not dead, it’ s a lie,” Anna Diakité, Cisse’s wife, told Lovin Malta.
Like Diakite, Lassana’s mother, Fatoumata Sidibe, still can’t comprehend the reality of what has happened. When told by Lovin Malta about the arrest in a telephone conversation, she collapsed and had to pass on the phone to her younger brother, Seya Sidibe.
“She’s crying, she does not want to pick up the phone, she’s just crying,” he says.
“[She] wants to see her son’s body before believing in his death. He was her only son,” Toumani Sidibé, Fatoumata’s older brother had earlier explained.
Anger over the shocking murder appears to be the overarching emotion for Toumani, who took care of Lassana before he left for Libya.
“I’m very shocked, Lassana was not a thief, he was a hard worker. We are very shocked to learn it was the army who killed him,” he said.
Lassana’s wife and mother, currently in Mali, are looking to return to the Ivory Coast to request the repatriation of the murdered man’s body. However, financial means is preventing them from seeing this through.
“I would like to go to Abidjan to do everything to repatriate my husband’s body but I do not have money to pay for my transport, so for now I’m waiting to see what his family is going to do,” Diakite said.
Lassana was gunned down while walking down Triq il-Ġebel on 6th April. Two other men, a Guinean and a Gambian, were also shot but have recovered from their injuries.
He also leaves behind an 18-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old.
Following the arrest of the two men, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat confirmed that an internal investigation has been launched to determine whether the perpetrators were isolated, rogue individuals or part of something wider. Home Affairs Michael Farrugia has already shrugged off any political responsibility.
The evidence strongly suggests have been a racially motivated murder, with sources saying that one of the suspects admitted to police that he did not know who Lassana or the other victims were.
He also admitted that the two of them were also responsible for the intentional hit and run of a Chadian man in that same country road earlier this year.