The six victims, all Ghanaian workers, killed in Castel Volturno in 2008 | Photo: ANSA / CIRO FUSCO
The six victims, all Ghanaian workers, killed in Castel Volturno in 2008 | Photo: ANSA / CIRO FUSCO

The southern Italian city of Castel Volturno, which hosts a community of thousands of immigrants, commemorated on Saturday the so-called "slaughter of San Gennaro" -- the murder of six Ghanaian citizens by members of the powerful Casalesi criminal clan 13 years ago.

A ceremony was held on Saturday (September 18) in Castel Volturno (Caserta) to commemorate six Ghanaian immigrants who were killed on the same day in 2008 by members of the powerful Casalesi clan of the Neapolitan Camorra mafia in the so-called "slaughter of San Gennaro".

A seventh Ghanaian immigrant, Joseph Ayimbora, was wounded in the attack but testified with courage at the trial and died a few years later of natural causes. He was awarded a gold medal for civil valor by the president of the Republic.

A leading member of the Casalesi clan, Giuseppe Setola, was among those convicted for the murders. Setola and four others were deemed responsible for killing a total of 18 people in just a few months in 2008.

The victims included the Ghanaian immigrants as well as relatives of former members of the clan who had collaborated with the judiciary and entrepreneurs who had reported the Casalesi for extortion, including Domenico Noviello and Antonio Celiento. Celiento was also killed on September 18, 2008.

'We will fight for everybody'

The initiative on Saturday, promoted by the social center ex Canapificio, and charities including Caritas, Centro Fernandes, the Combonians, Emergency and the Movement of migrants and refugees, was called "We are not afraid of the present because we are grounded in memory".

It included an inter-religious prayer and several speeches highlighting that many immigrants today see themselves in the six victims.

A number of immigrants, like the six victims before their deaths, only survive thanks to precarious jobs in construction, in agriculture, without being able to count on training programs, participants said.

"Many of us," said Mamadou Kouassi, "like our six brothers who were slaughtered, have a precarious stay permit or don't have one. We are discriminated by laws like the Salvini decree, which left 2,000 people without a stay permit here on the coast, putting them in a more precarious position where they could be exploited. Today, in their memory, we want to say that we will fight so that everyone can be hosted, can have a stay permit for special protection because the right to stay is the first step towards autonomy and to improve not only our personal lives but that of the entire coast."

"We need confidence and concrete rights", added Kouassi.

Proposal to make September 18 day for victims of racism

The inter-religious prayer was led by Comboni missionaries, pastors and an imam. The service was attended by Senator Sandro Ruotolo (of the group of independent members of parliament), who launched a proposal to make September 18 a national day to commemorate the victims of racism in Italy.

The proposal was supported by Renato Natale, the mayor of Casal di Principe (Caserta) who attended the ceremony.

Also present were representatives of the prefecture and police of Caserta, the deputy mayor of Castel Volturno, members of Libera Campania, an association fighting criminal syndicates in Castel Volturno, and the Committee Father Peppe Diana, a priest in Casal di Principe who was murdered by the Camorra in 1994.


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