‘Terrorist attack motivated by racial hatred’: Graffitti calls for institutional reform

Activists Graffitti call for serious investigation to eradicate institutional racism inside the Armed Forces of Malta

Andre Callus
Andre Callus

Activists Graffitti have called for a serious investigation and appropriate action to eradicate institutional racism inside the Armed Forces of Malta, after two soldiers were arrested in connection with the murder of Lassane Cisse Souleymane.

“The arraignment of these two soldiers is not enough. A serious investigation and appropriate action should be taken to eradicate institutional racism, that may include also violent elements,” spokesperson Andre Callus said.

“This is not the first murder of an African person by the AFM, although it is the most serious one due to the nature of the case. In the past eight years, two other African migrants – Ifeanyi Nwokoye in 2011 and Mamadou Kamara in 2012 – were killed by soldiers following beatings.

“Only half-hearted actions were taken in these cases, with everything indicating that there was an effort to cover-up these murders. Moreover, some members of the AFM have publicly expressed racist sentiments and support for far-right ideologies, seemingly with no consequences.”

Callus stressed that not all AFM members should be accused of being racist.

“Many are not, and we must not forget that they have rescued the lives of thousands of migrants at sea. However, ensuring a zero-tolerance policy of hatred and racism within the army, as well as in other institutions, is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

“Allowing racism to fester in government institution means allowing the growth of a destructive force that can threaten the foundations of our democracy. Taking the case of Lassana seriously by finding and charging the perpetrators is a step in the right direction, but much more needs to be done.”

Callus was unequivocal about the murder being a terrorist attack motivated by racism.

“The murder of Lassana and the wounding of two other African migrants, guilty only of being at the same place and time during a racist drive-by shooting, is a case of unprecedent gravity in Malta.

“Although the is not the first assault and murder of innocent victims, there are two elements in this case which makes it truly alarming. First, this was a terrorist attack motivated by racial hatred, since people were shot at because of their skin colour by assailants unknown to them, with the aim of instilling fear in whole communities. Second, it has now been discovered that, most probably, these assailants are members of the Armed Forces of Malta.”

Callus said it was positive that Police had carried out a serious investigation and are taking the necessary actions. “I’m saying this because we know from past incidents of racially-motivated crimes that this has not always been the case. But it now seems that this case is being handled as it should be.”

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