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'Hero' migrant who saved child to get French citizenship: Macron

Macron meeting with 'hero' Mamoudou Gassama on Monday [Getty]

Date of publication: 28 May, 2018

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The 22-year-old undocumented migrant will receive French citizenship for his act of bravery.

The young undocumented Malian migrant who with his bare hands scaled a four-story Paris building in under one minute to save a four-year-old boy hanging off a balcony will be made a French citizen, President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.

Mamoudou Gassama said he had been walking past the building when he saw the child hanging and a crowd of onlookers gathered underneath. 

"When I took him in my arms, I spoke with him and asked: 'Why did you do that?' But he did not answer," he told French broadcaster BFMTV.

The boy's parents were not at home at the time, and the father was questioned by police for leaving his son unattended. 

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also phoned Gassama to thank him for his heroism. She referred to him as the "Spiderman of the 18th," a reference to the arrondissement where the rescue occured. 

"He explained to me that he had arrived from Mali a few months ago dreaming of building his life here," Hidalgo said.

"I replied that his heroic gesture was an example for all citizens and that the City of Paris will obviously be keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France," she added.

Gassama met with Macron on Monday in the Elysee Palace, and the president added that he will be offered a place in the fire brigade.

Rights group SOS Racisme said that Gassama's story is a "useful reminder to us that people without papers are human beings with…great bravery that many have shown in their perilous journey to Europe - bravery that they often continue to display here".

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