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Undocumented Somali man dies in Italy after applying for asylum

Thursday August 11, 2022

Policemen cover the body of Mustafe Hamed Abdi, a young Somali man hit by a tanker while he was at a bus stop in Ancona, August 8, 2022 | Photo: Marina Verdenelli / ANSA

Fleeing Somalia where he would have died of "hunger", he instead died in Italy's Ancona, when he was hit by a tanker. Mustafe Hamed Abdi, 23, did not have any identification documents and had filed a request for international protection in early August.

The accident that killed Mustafe Hamed Abdi - who would have turned 23 in October - happened Monday morning at a bus stop in the multiethnic area Archi of the Italian port city of Ancona.

The young Somali man was crushed by the tires of the lateral part of the heavy vehicle and died immediately. According to initial reports, at around 11 AM, the young asylum seeker was standing by the side of the bus stop when he got snapped and dragged for some meters by the vehicle passing by.

The driver, a 54-year-old man from Montemarciano near Ancona, had seen the young man emerge from a side street shortly before the incident took place. According to the driver, he was "slouching, with his head down in front, with something on his back - possibly a backpack".

'I went to see... he was on the ground'

A few seconds later he heard a noice and "looked in the rear-view mirror. I saw a backpack and I thought he had thrown it and I stopped. I went to see, but he was on the ground."

Mustafe had asked for asylum and was currently living in Italy without papers. According to reports, Mustafe had left Somalia in 2017, arriving in Libya and then in Italy, where he had been for over 2 years.

In his own country he had cleaned hotels but fled from a life of hardship."In Somalia there was no work, no doctors, I would have died of hunger there," he told the territorial commission for the granting of international protection that he had spoken to in early August.

Accident or suicide?

Mustafe was without any papers: "everything was stolen from me, even my stay permit," he told the commission.

The young man had arrived in Ancona three months before and was said to be sleeping in makeshift "lodgings" in several areas of the city. He had a card to eat at a soup kitchen for the poor.

Prosecutor Rosario Lioniello has asked for blood tests to be conducted on his corpse and wants to ascertain whether his death was the result of a fatal accident or suicide and whether the victim could have been under the effect of drugs or alcohol.

Ancona's mayor Mancinelli expressed the "deep pain" felt in the city for the "young victim."

The Somali embassy and his relatives in his home country have been informed of his death.


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