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Muslim immigrant dubbed 'hero' after climbing Paris building to save child

29 May, 2018, 21:29 | Author: Ted Wilson
  • Gassama 22 took less than 30 seconds to reach the child and has since been compared to the Marvel superhero Spider-Man

Mamoudou Gassama, a 22-year-old Malian, became the most famous undocumented immigrant in France after footage of his rescue of a child hanging from the balcony of a fourth-floor apartment went viral.

The athletic Malian also visited a fire station to sign up for a 10-month internship with the Paris fire and rescue services, expected to pay close to 600 euros ($690) a month.

"Bravo", said Macron, who invited him to the presidential palace.

Gassama, who was living in Paris illegally at the time, was later granted French citizenship by President Emmanuel Macron and offered a job as a firefighter thanks to his heroics.

The accident was uncovered on Saturday evening when firefighters were called urgently to an apartment block in northern Paris after receiving continuous reports of a four-year old clinging for his life on a balcony.

Mr Gassama told the president he had been walking past when he saw a crowd gathered in front of the building.

Macron is behind a bill toughening French immigration law, and he stressed there is no contradiction between rewarding Gassama for his act of bravery and holding firm on immigration, which the president wants to stop at its source.

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The boy's father was arrested by the police for questioning and the mother was out of Paris.

While others watched, he sprang into action, scaling the outside of the building before grabbing the child's arm and pulling him to safety. I like children. I would have hated to see him get hurt in front of me.

Gassama added, "I just climbed up and thank God, God helped me". While he felt overwhelmed by all the journalists and reporters surrounding him as he left the palace, he spoke of Macron and how the French president that given him a "present", and that this is the first time in his life he had been offered anything like that.

"I went straight up", said the sporty youth, who wore jeans and a short-sleeved shirt to the encounter, explaining his climb.

It remained unclear how the child ended up on the balcony's ledge.

"His behaviour constitutes an offence, failing to honour parental responsibilities, which carries a possible sentence of two years in jail", Molins said. "I ran across the road to go and save him".

"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".

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