According to the office of the French presidency, a Malian migrant who rescued a child hanging from a balcony will be granted naturalization to become a French citizen. He has also been offered a job by the Paris fire brigade.
The 22-year-old Mamoudou Gassama was seen in a video climbing up four floors of the apartment building to rescue the child, to the cheers of onlookers.
He managed to pull the child to safety before Parisian emergency services arrived at the building, French President Emmanuel Macron invited Gassama to the Élysée Palace on Monday, where he was given a gold medal and a certificate for his act of bravery.
Gassama said: “I didn’t think about it, I climbed up and God helped me.”
He said that when he reached the apartment, he became scared and started shaking.
Macron asked Gassama how the child was when he was rescued. He replied: “He was crying because he was hurt.” Gassama said he was within the vicinity to watch a football match in a restaurant when he saw the commotion.
“I love children, I would have hated to see him getting hurt before my eyes. I ran and I looked for solutions to save him and thank God I scaled the front of the building to the balcony,” he said.
The video showed neighbors on an adjoining balcony struggling to pull the child to safety.
According to judicial sources, the child’s father went out shopping when the incident occurred.
According to a spokesman for the Paris prosecutor, the father is being investigated for neglecting his parental responsibilities. He is no longer in custody, but will be sentenced in September, the spokesman said. The 4-year-old child has been placed in care.
The Mayor Paris Anne Hidalgo said on her official Twitter handle on Sunday she had called Gassama to thank him, congratulating the Malian migrant on his act of bravery.
“He explained to me that he arrived from Mali a few months ago with the dream of making a life for himself here. I replied that his heroic act is 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,” she posted on Twitter. The
Paris fire brigade tweeted: “Mamoudou shares the values of the Paris fire brigade. We are ready to welcome him.”