Judge Gives Residency to Migrant Who Set Village on Fire, Killing Multiple People

THOMAS LOHNES/AFP via Getty Images

A judge has granted humanitarian residency to a Gambian migrant who admitted to having started fires in his native village, killing several people.

The migrant arrived in Italy in 2016 but was initially denied asylum by the Bologna Territorial Commission in September of 2018. He then appealed the decision to the Bologna court, which granted him a residency permit on humanitarian grounds late last month.

According to a report from newspaper Il Giornale, the migrant admitted to setting a large part of his village on fire.

He told judges that he had worked in the fields of his village after two years at an Islamic school, and one day he set dry grass on fire which spread to nearby houses due to heavy winds. The fire ultimately killed several people and put others in the hospital.

According to the migrant, relatives of the victims were so enraged they planned to kill him. He said he escaped the village after locals broke into his home and attacked him.

In 2015 he travelled to Libya where he remained for eleven months before coming to Italy illegally.

The judge who granted the Gambian residency said that he had no family to return to in his native country and claimed that he was on the path to integration, citing these as reasons for him to be allowed to remain in the country.

Humanitarian residency permits were scrapped for a period by former interior minister Matteo Salvini, of the populist League (Lega) party, as part of his security and migration decrees in 2018.

The decree was part of Salvini’s tough stance on mass migration which largely stopped migrant taxi NGOs from entering Italian ports and led to a huge decrease in new migrant arrivals and in drowning deaths in the Mediterranean sea.

The current leftist coalition government under Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, however, has fought against Salvini’s security decrees and sought to repeal them.

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