BAMAKO, MALI, 18 JUNE 2018 – The Malian migrant, Mamoudou Gassma, who scaled an apartment block last May 26 in Paris, France, to save a toddler from dropping to its certain death, was given a hero’s welcome during a brief visit to his native Mali.
Gassama, 24, sprang into action without a thought for his own safey, scaling the building and saving the four-year-old child as people in the streets filmed his heroic act. Video of his life-saving action went viral, leading to people to nickname him the “Malian Spiderman”.
“I wasn’t afraid,” Gassama recalls. “Yes, I showed courage. It came from God. God saved me.”
French President Emmanuel Macron thanked and met in person with Gassam, an undocumented migrant. Macron promised him French nationality.
Gassama, who now enjoys rock star status, crossed the Mediterranean Sea on a migrant boat in September 2014. He joined and lived with his brother in France, working illegally on building sites. He had not returned to Mali for fear of not being allowed to return to France.
“I am so very, very happy because everyone came to meet me at the airport,” Gassama told reporters upon his arrival at Bamako International Airport. “I saw my father and I saw all the members of my family. I hadn’t seen my father for nine years,” he added.
Gassama will sign an employment contract with the Paris fire brigade on June 28. He was expected to be received by Malian President Ibrahim Boubakar Keita.