Souleymane murder: Survivor recounts how accused shot at him and left

The court hears how two men ran into the fields after hearing shots coming from a car that was driving past them

Lorin Scicluna (left) and Francesco Fenech (right) were charged with the murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane
Lorin Scicluna (left) and Francesco Fenech (right) were charged with the murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane

A migrant resident in Ħal Far has recounted how he was hit in the left side of his back by a bullet fired from a car that stopped next to him before it drove off.

Ibrahim Bah took the witness stand on Tuesday morning in the case against two former soldiers accused with the murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane in the same road that night.

Assisted by an interpreter, Bah told the court he came to Malta because his friend told him that the people were “friendly and there wasn't any racism".

On the night of the incident, he had left home to watch a Real Madrid football match at an EZBet shop in Birżebbuġa. On his way back, Bah and a friend were attacked after two former soldiers went on a shooting spree in the rural road between Hal Far and Birżebbuġa.

Francesco Fenech, 21, and Lorin Scicluna, 22, both former Armed Forces of Malta soldiers, stand charged with killing Soulaymane, as well as the attempted murder of two other persons who were walking back home in Ħal Far back in April.

The men deny the charges of what is believed to be Malta's first racially-motivated murder.

 The compilation of evidence against the accused continued on Tuesday.

Bah was unable to recall how many shots he heard. "I felt something hit my backside. I pulled down my trousers and saw a bullet wound," he told the court.

"The car stopped and then they shot and I turned around. They shot at me and continued on their way."

Fenech is believed to have pulled the trigger on 42-year-old Souleymane while Scicluna drove the vehicle.

The men have also been charged with the attempted murder of another man from Chad in February.

The two soldiers were suspended from their duties following a special order by President George Vella. An internal inquiry is ongoing. 

Lawyer Giannella de Marco is appearing for Francesco Fenech while Kris Busietta, Julian Farrugia and Franco Debono appear for Lorin Scicluna. Inspectors Keith Arnaud and Trevor Micallef are prosecuting. Arthur Azzopardi is parte civile for the victim’s family.

Magistrate Ian Farrugia is presiding.

13:23 That's it for today. The case continues on 25 July. Kurt Sansone
13:21 The court orders the body’s release after hearing the prosecution declare that the body is no longer needed for the investigation. Kurt Sansone
13:18 Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi asks that Lassana's body be released for burial. Kurt Sansone
13:17 Magistrate Farrugia confirms that this will be done under the supervision and authority of the court. A surveyor will be appointed to conduct the necessary tests. Kurt Sansone
13:06 Arnaud asks the court to order the taking into evidence of a Volkswagen Golf (BUZ133, registered to Fenech), after hearing the testimony of the police witnesses. The court orders that the car be immediately seized and for all the required tests be carried out to determine whether the car was the car which appeared on CCTV at various places. Kurt Sansone
13:00 Lawyer Arthur Azzopardi wants the defence to declare that they have no objection to the appointment of Martin Bajada to examine the mobile phones, to avoid surprises further down the line. The defence has no objection, says Franco Debono. Kurt Sansone
12:59 Scicluna's car, has also been exhibited as evidence to the court. Kurt Sansone
12:59 Inspector Arnaud exhibits two mobile phones: Scicluna's iPhone and Fenech's Samsung. Kurt Sansone
12:37 The constable is testifying about CCTV footage from which they mapped out the car's movements. Kurt Sansone
12:35 The CID officer ends his testimony and Arnaud calls in his last witness for today, another constable from CID. Kurt Sansone
12:34 The police officer says that Lorin Scicluna kept repeating that it wasn't him, but Francesco Fenech, who fired the shots. Kurt Sansone
12:33 Lorin told the police about the weapon and the ammunition. The officer tells the court that Lorin was telling them: "I didn't shoot, I didn't shoot". Kurt Sansone
12:33 Lorin’s lawyer at the time, Jason Azzopardi, who was assisting the suspect during the police interrogation urged him to tell the truth. This is when Lorin started crying, the court hears. Kurt Sansone
12:32 The officer tells the court that Lorin Scicluna’s story was not making sense. Kurt Sansone
12:17 The court hears how after the incident, the car's appearance had been altered with stickers. Kurt Sansone
12:17 An officer tells the court that he gathered CCTV footage of the white Toyota Starlet driven by the accused. Kurt Sansone
12:16 Police officers from the CID are now taking the witness stand. Kurt Sansone
12:11 The witness has finished testifying. Kurt Sansone
12:11 He asks whether the man knows the accused. The witness turns to look at them and says “non, non, non” (no in French). Kurt Sansone
12:10 "From when I left the hospital, nobody tried to check up on me." Kurt Sansone
12:09 Inspector Arnaud asks whether he has been receiving any treatment. Kurt Sansone
12:09 Bah says he was taken to Mater Dei Hospital and spent around two weeks there convalescing. Kurt Sansone
12:07 “I called my friend up and told him to call the police because I'd been shot. Later the police came from Birżebbuġa.” Kurt Sansone
12:06 The friend, Ibrahima, called back. “He didn't know the number for the police,” the witness says. Kurt Sansone
12:05 “You need to call me,” Bah told his friend. Kurt Sansone
12:03 Bah tells the court how he pulled out his mobile phone from the pocket and called a friend at home. Kurt Sansone
12:02 “I turned to look at the car,” he says, pivoting left on the stand to show how. “After they shot me, I turned.” Kurt Sansone
11:59 Bah says he did not know whether the shots came from the driver or passenger side of the car. Kurt Sansone
11:56 Arnaud asks the man which side he had been shot in the backside. The witness pats his left-hand side. Kurt Sansone
11:55 The witness reiterates that the shots came from the left hand side of where he was standing. Kurt Sansone
11:55 Once again, de Marco raises the issue that the witness is saying some words that are not being translated. The court orders the witness to speak into the microphone to be recorded. Kurt Sansone
11:54 “I don't know. The shots were coming from the witness left…” Kurt Sansone
11:52 Arnaud asks him to whom is he referring to as having shot at him and his friends. Kurt Sansone
11:51 Bah says that they ran towards the fields. Kurt Sansone
11:51 "The car stopped and then they shot and I turned around. They shot at me and continued on their way." Kurt Sansone
11:50 Arnaud asks what the connection between the shots and the car was. Kurt Sansone
11:50 "We didn't think they were shots, but petards," Bah answers. He says the car passed them and stopped before the shots were fired. Kurt Sansone
11:49 Inspector Arnaud asks where the shots came from. Kurt Sansone
11:48 Lawyer Giannella de Marco accused him of being petulant and facetious after he said that he didn't want to be accused of adding anything to the testimony. Kurt Sansone
11:48 Court is admonishing the interpreter for not translating a non-standard word for “white”, which the court had understood. It urged him to be practical. Kurt Sansone
11:38 An issue has arisen with the translator. The defence is accusing him of making suggestions which the inspector had not made. Kurt Sansone
11:34 The witness is unable to recall how many shots he heard. “I felt something hit my backside. I pulled down my trousers and saw a bullet wound.” Kurt Sansone
11:34 “It passed by us and at that time I heard shots.” Kurt Sansone
11:33 The inspector asks if he saw anyone else at that time and Bah replies that he hadn't but saw a car leaving the direction of Hal Far towards Birżebbuġa. Kurt Sansone
11:32 “I spoke to my friend who told me they were petards, then we continued to walk towards where we lived in Hal Far.” Kurt Sansone
11:32 Inspector Keith Arnaud asks the witness what he saw at that time. Kurt Sansone
11:31 “I told my friend, I'm hearing sounds ahead of us. My friend said it was fireworks (musketterija).” Kurt Sansone
11:31 “I was walking with my friend and heard a weapon go poom, poom, poom. We didn't think it was a weapon at first and stopped,” Bah tells the court. Kurt Sansone
11:30 “What happened as you were walking home?” Kurt Sansone
11:29 “The court understands that the material is traumatic, but that is why we are here. Let us get on with it,” the magistrate says. Kurt Sansone
11:29 Court is urging the witness to get to the pertinent part of his testimony, as he has been giving a lot of background. Kurt Sansone
11:14 Bah is speaking French and his words and the questions are being translated. Kurt Sansone
11:13 "I left with my friend Mohammed Giallo, who is from Gambia," Bah tells the court. Kurt Sansone
11:12 He was there at the shop with friends till around 10.30pm. Kurt Sansone
11:10 On the night of the incident, he had left home to watch a Real Madrid football match at an EZBet shop in Birżebbuġa. Kurt Sansone
11:09 Bah tells the court that he came to Malta because his friend told him that the people were “friendly and there wasn't any racism". Kurt Sansone
11:08 Ibrahim Bah takes the witness stand, assisted by an interpreter. Kurt Sansone
11:07 Magistrate Ian Farrugia is presiding. Kurt Sansone
11:06 The two are former soldiers. Kurt Sansone
11:06 We are in court as the compilation of evidence against Lorin Scicluna and Francesco Fenech continues. Kurt Sansone

IN THE LAST SITTING: Magistrate warns inconsistent witnes

More in Court & Police