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'Hero' Malian who rescued child to be given French citizenship, says Macron

AFP , Monday 28 May 2018
Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) meets with Mamoudou Gassama, 22, from Mali, at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, May 28, 2018. Mamoudou Gassama living illegally in France is being honored by Macron for scaling an apartment building over the weekend to save a 4-year-old child dangling from a fifth-floor balcony. (Photo: Reuters)
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The young Malian migrant who saved a four-year-old child hanging from a fourth-floor Paris balcony after scaling the facade with his bare hands will be made a French citizen, President Emmanuel Macron said Monday.

Mamoudou Gassama, who met with Macron after a video of his rescue went viral on social media, will also be offered a place in the fire brigade, the president added.

Monday's meeting took place two days after Gassama grabbed headlines across France for his daring rescue of a four-year-old child hanging from a fourth-floor balcony of a Paris apartment.

Without a thought for his own safety, Gassama single-handedly scaled the facade of the building in a matter of seconds and rescued the child.

The spectacular rescue was captured on film and viewed millions of times on social networks.

The incident took place at around 8:00pm (180:0 GMT) on Saturday in northern Paris.

Film of the rescue shows Gassama, 22, pulling himself up from balcony to balcony with his bare hands as a man on the fourth floor tries to hold on to the child by leaning across from a neighbouring balcony.

On reaching the fourth floor Gassama put one leg over the balcony before reaching out with his right arm and grabbing the child.

Firefighters arrived at the scene to find the child had already been rescued.

"Luckily, there was someone who was physically fit and who had the courage to go and get the child," a fire service spokesman told AFP.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo praised the young migrant on Twitter for his "act of bravery" as well as phoning him personally to "thank him warmly".

"He explained to me that he had arrived from Mali a few months ago dreaming of building his life here.

"I told him that his heroic act is an example to all citizens and that the city of Paris will obviously be very keen to support him in his efforts to settle in France," she added.

Tracked down by reporters 24 hours after the heroic rescue, Gassama said he had acted without thinking.

"I saw all these people shouting, and cars sounding their horns. I climbed up like that and, thank God, I saved the child," he said.

"I felt afraid when I saved the child... (when) we went into the living room, I started to shake, I could hardly stand up, I had to sit down," he added.

According to initial inquiries by the authorities, the child's parents were not at home at the time.

The father was later held for questioning by police for having left his child unattended and was due in court later, a judicial source said. The child's mother was not in Paris at the time.

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