May 18, 2019 / 4:28 PM / 2 months ago

Maltese police question two soldiers over shooting of migrant

VALLETTA (Reuters) - Maltese police on Saturday said they were questioning two soldiers over a drive-by shooting in April in which an African migrant was killed.

Ivorian national Lassana Cisse was killed on April 6 when he was shot from a car as he walked down a street in Hal Far, close to an army barracks and a migrants’ center.

Two men, one from Gambia and the other from Guinea, were injured.

Police said the attack was racially motivated and a source in the investigation said one of the suspects had admitted to targeting the migrants “just because they were black”.

On Saturday, the police confirmed that two Maltese suspects - both soldiers in the Armed Forces of Malta - were in custody. The weapon and the vehicle used in the crime had been seized, police said.

The deceased man used to work in a factory near Hal Far, in the south of Malta. He was known for checking on his fellow countrymen in the migrants’ center after work, media reported.

In a series of tweets, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said an investigation involving other security services would determine whether the suspects were rogue individuals or part of a wider network.

He said hatred and division had no place in Malta’s society.

“There are consequences to spreading such ill-placed sentiments,” he said. “We remain steadfast in our call for unity among the Maltese and all those who live in Malta.”

Reporting by Christopher Scicluna; Editing by Ros Russell

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