Updated: Family and friends pay last respects to Mamadou Kamara
The funeral of 32-year-old Malian Mamadou Kamara, who died while in the custody of Detention Services and Armed Forces of Malta personnel in June, was held at the Mosque in Paola this afternoon after the authorities released his body for burial.
Mr Kamara's coffin was carried into the mosque by six men. The coffin was greeted by Imam Mohammed El Sadi who condemned all forms of racism and thanked all those who showed solidarity with refugees.
He also offered his condolences to the people of Mali.
The coffin was then taken out of the mosque and Mr Kamara's body, wrapped in a white shroud, was taken out of the coffin and carried to the burial ground where prayers was said as family and friends, led by his Maltese girlfriend Mary Agius and their nine-month old girl Sata Mary, paid their last respects.
Ms Agius said:
“Mamadou or Zoto, as I called him, loved his daughter very much. She resembles him in all ways. She keeps calling out for him – it’s as if she knows that he’s gone.”
Mr Kamara had been found dead a short while after he was recaptured following an attempt to escape from Safi detention centre. It was his second attempt to escape, having already fled the detention centre in 2009.
In a statement, the government expressed sympathy with Mr Kamara's family, his friends and fellow migrants.
It said it had asked for an in depth investigation as to the events leading to Mr Kamara's death and said the Prime Minister personally called for a full review of the detention system, which was being conducted by the Office of the Prime Minister and which would lead to graduated yet significant changes.
"Whilst looking forward, we cannot but reflect on this sad occasion as to the importance of ensuring such incidences do not happen again.
"The government is covering the costs of the funeral as a gesture of solidarity with Mr Kamara's family and the migrant community," it said.