From file: A group of migrants at the Borgo Mezzanone settlement in Foggia |  Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/Franco Cautillo
From file: A group of migrants at the Borgo Mezzanone settlement in Foggia | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/Franco Cautillo

A 30-year-old citizen of Mali was injured in the face from an air gun pellet in an attack that took place during the night between Sunday and Monday in Foggia in southern Italy. The shots were fired from an off-road vehicle that came up beside their car.

Early Monday morning (April 26), three African migrants who were returning home in their car after having spent an evening with some friends who live in the Borgo Mezzanone settlement became the target of an attack by unknown people who shot an air gun from an off-road vehicle.

One of the migrants, Sinayogo B., a 30-year-old Mali citizen, was hit in the face and seriously injured. He is being treated at Riuniti Hospital in Foggia, where he underwent surgery. He is in serious but not life-threatening condition.

The attack took place around 1:30 a.m. in the countryside between Foggia and San Severo, not far from another makeshift settlement known as the "gran ghetto", where the three migrants live.

Sinayogo B. was driving and the two others in the car were a 26-year-old Malian and a 30-year-old Ivorian. After the shots were fired, which shattered the car's window, the three friends abandoned the car and fled into the nearby fields as the off-road vehicle disappeared.

More checks ordered in that area

The injured Malian, who speaks little Italian, said there were presumably three people in the off-road vehicle who didn't say anything but only shot the air gun. Immediately after, the three Africans called an ambulance and the young man who was injured was taken to hospital.

Sinayogo B. arrived in Italy about five years ago and has been regularly working for some time at a farm in the area of Apricena (Foggia). "He is regularly signed up with FLAI CGIL but he never said he had experienced pressure from illegal gangmasters," said Raffale Falcone, secretary of the labour union in Foggia.

On Monday morning, prefect Raffale Grassi convened a special meeting at the prefecture and ordered more checks in that area. Aboubakar Soumahoro, the trade unionist with "Lega Braccianti", also spoke about the episode, and said that the incident must immediately be investigated. He announced the convening of an assembly of workers "because these attacks on the lives of men and women will not bend and will not stop our fight for the rights and the social and working dignity of all."

Attack is the most recent of various episodes

This is not the first time foreign farm workers have been injured in the fields of Foggia. It happened in July 2019 on Via Manfredonia when three foreigners, a Gambian and two Senegalese, were hit by some rocks thrown from a passing car while they were travelling to the fields for work.

A few months later, two young Foggia residents were arrested in connection to the episode. The year after, on August 4, 2020, another farm worker, a 22-year-old Nigerian, was slightly injured in the legs and an arm by a pellet gun on viale degli Aviatori. He was riding his bike on his way to work in the fields.


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