Mamadou Kamara laid to rest, Imam deplores racism

Imam Mohammed El Sadi deplored all forms of racism during the funeral service for Mamadou Kamara, killed while in custody of Detention Services and AFM officers.

Mamadou Kamara's funeral was held two months after his death.
Mamadou Kamara's funeral was held two months after his death.

"Racism is unacceptable and all acts of racism are deplorable," Imam Mohammed El Sadi said during the funeral service for Mamadou Kamara, who died while in the custody of Detention Services and Armed Forces of Malta personnel on 29 June.

Kamara's funeral was held at the Mosque in Paola this afternoon after the authorities released his body for burial.

The 32-year-old Malian's coffin was carried into the mosque by six co-nationals, where the Imam and the Muslim community gathered to offer their prayers for Kamara.

Imam Mohammed El Sadi condemned all forms of racism and thanked all those who showed solidarity with refugees including the army, the police, the church, the Jesuit Refugee Services, the Refugee Commission and all those who help migrants in Malta.

He conveyed his condolences to Kamara's family, friends and the Malian community in Malta.

Following the brief service, the coffin was carried out of the mosque by his friends and was buried in an adjacent garden.

Kamara's body, wrapped in a white shroud, was taken out of the coffin and placed in a grave where as his girlfriend Mary Agius and their nine-month old girl Sata Mary, looked on in silence.

As his friends paid their last respects and sealed the grave with stone slabs and mortar, the Imam again led prayers as Kamara's friends and the Muslim community bid farewell to their dear friend for the last time.

Kamara's girlfriend said the grave will be reopened in October in order to carry out DNA tests and officially confirm that nine-month-old Sata Mary is his daughter.  Agius said once this is confirmed the daughter will take Kamara's surname.

The two soldiers, from the AFM's First Regiment who were stationed at the Safi Detention Centre pleaded not guilty to the involuntary homicide of 32-year-old Mamadou Kamara from Mali, causing him serious injury and committing a crime they were duty-bound to prevent.

Sergeant Mark Anthony Dimech, 44 of Gzira and Gunner Clive Cuschieri, 29 of Paola were granted bail by Magistrate Saviour Demicoli against a €9,000 deposit each and a personal guarantee of €30,000.

Meanwhile the government expressed the "deepest sympathy to Mr Kamara's family as well as his friends and fellow migrants."

In a statement issued this afternoon, the government pointed out that it has asked for an in depth investigation as to the events leading to his death.

"The Prime Minister personally called for a full review of the detention system which is being conducted by the Office of the Prime Minister and which will lead to graduated yet significant changes."

It added "we cannot but reflect on this sad occasion as to the importance of ensuring such incidences do not happen again."  

The government also said it covered the costs of the funeral as a gesture of solidarity with Kamara's family and the migrant community.