Malian 'spiderman' hero joins Paris fire brigade after citizenship fast-tracked

The Malian man is now being celebrated in France and Mali for saving the boy and even had a meeting with the French President Emmanuel Macron, who lauded him for his bravery. 


                            Malian 'spiderman' hero joins Paris fire brigade after citizenship fast-tracked

The 22-year-old Malian hero, Mamoudou Gassama, who has been dubbed as the "spiderman" of Paris for climbing a multi-storeyed building to save a child hanging from a balcony, has been granted legal immigration status and has joined the French fire brigade, according to reports.

A video of Gassama went viral over the weekend, which showed him scaling several stories of a Paris building to save a four-year-old boy who had already dropped one floor and was dangling from a balcony railing by his fingertips on May 26, at Rue Marx-Dormoy.

Reports state that the boy was left alone at home while his father had gone out shopping. Latest reports state that the child's father was also out playing Pokemon Go, leaving the four-year-old unsupervised as he climbed out of a window and fell. French prosecutor Francois Mollins told ABC News. “He is devastated because he realizes what he did, and the tragic consequences that it could have led to.”

In an interview with BFM-TV, Molins further mentioned that the child’s father faces up to two years in prison for leaving the child unsupervised, which is “failure to meet parental obligations,” in French legal code. The man's trial over this incident has been scheduled for September.

The Malian man is now being celebrated in France and Mali for saving the boy and even had a meeting with the French President Emmanuel Macron, who lauded him for his bravery. 

The French president invited Gassama to the Elysée Palace on Monday and awarded him a medal for “bravery and devotion." 

Reports state that after Gassama’s immigration papers were fast-tracked on Tuesday morning, he visited a fire station and signed up for a 10-month internship with the fire and rescue services. He is not expected to receive a pay of nearly $697 per month. He will receive the French citizenship within nearly three months, according to reports.

Gassama has had a tough life as he left Mali when he was a teenager and traveled through Libya, where he was arrested and beaten. He then took a dangerous boat journey to the Italian coast and spent nearly four years in Italy before arriving in France to join his brother there.

Ever since he arrived in France, the 22-year-old has been living sleeping on the floor of a residence for migrants in Montreuil, outside Paris, considering he does not have legal immigration documents.

Gassama has been rolling out a thin mattress every night and packing it up in the morning. Reports state that he shares the cramped room he sleeps in with six other immigrants who have not been able to work legally in the country. The Montreuil mayor, Patrice Bessac, on Tuesday, praised Gassama for his bravery and also promised him to find a house.

"I’m proud to see migrants being seen as enriching our society," Bessac said, according to The Guardian.

The local authority head in Seine-Saint-Denis, who processed Gassama’s citizenship request also praised the Malian for his efforts and said: "He helped someone in danger, which is not such a common thing in our society.”

Although everyone is praising “Le Spider-Man” for his heroic efforts, multiple charities working with migrants have accused the French government of using this incident as a PR opportunity to hide its clampdown on immigration in the country. 

Several charities said that instead of helping just one immigrant, the state should be assisting thousands of migrants living in squalid conditions in the country, with no apparent help from the French government.

Claire Rodier of Groupe d'information et de soutien des immigrés (GISTI), a non-profit organization, said: "There’s a bit of hypocrisy or cynicism," referring to the government, AFP reported. 

Rodier added that there is a significant contrast between the treatment Gassama is receiving now and "the repressive policy of this government against migrants and those without documents”.

While a government spokesperson, Benjamin Griveaux, in response to the accusations against the Macron government said: "Those who accuse us of opportunism would have been shouting if we did nothing."