Farmer shoots immigrant dead over melons

A farmer in southern Italy allegedly chased and shot an immigrant labourer in the back, killing the man after he reportedly tried to steal melons from a farm.

Farmer shoots immigrant dead over melons
The victim had allegedly been trying to steal melons before he was shot and killed. Photo: Brian Johnson & Dane Kantner/Flickr

Mamoudou Sare, a 37-year-old labourer from Burkina Faso, was killed on Monday evening in Lucera, in Italy’s southern Puglia region.

He was reportedly spotted by farmer Ferdinando Piacente, 65, and his 27-year-old son Raffaele trying to steal melons from their land along with two accomplices.

The two Italians decided to confront the three and a scuffle broke out, during which the younger Piacente’s nose was injured, SkyTG24 reported.

His father allegedly began shooting at the three men with a shotgun as they fled the scene, following them as they drove off in a Fiat car.

Ferdinando Piacente reportedly continued shooting at the men as he chased them in his SUV, forcing the Fiat to stop. At which point the farmer continued shooting, hitting Sare in the back and Adam Kadago, also from Burkina Faso, in the chest.

A third man who was not identified survived uninjured and provided his eye-witness account to the police, SkyTG24 said.

The farmer is being held in police custody with his son, who could also face charges over his alleged involvement in the shooting.

Immigrant farm labourers in southern Italy are frequently forced to work extremely long hours for just a few euros a day, often working under crime bosses who profit from the system.

But such mistreatment does not only affect foreigners; one Italian woman died while working in a field last month, reportedly after telling her employer she felt unwell. A Tunisian man and a Sudanese man were also reported to have died in the fields of Puglia over the summer. 


Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

Italy commemorated the death of Italian judge Giovanni Falcone on Monday, thirty years after the brutal Capaci bombing.

Italy remembers murdered anti-mafia judge Falcone

The entire country paid tribute on Monday to anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, killed by the Sicilian mafia 30 years ago in a car bomb murder that shocked the country.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese laid a wreath at the memorial at the site of the blast at Capaci, near Palermo, that killed Falcone, his wife, and three members of his police escort on May 23rd 1992.

Another ceremony in Palermo was attended by Italian President Sergio Mattarella, whose brother Piersanti, then Sicily’s regional president, was also murdered by the mafia.

In a statement, Prime Minister Mario Draghi hailed the legacy of Falcone, saying that thanks to his “courage, professionalism and determination, Italy has become a freer and fairer country”.

He said Falcone and his colleagues – one of whom, Paolo Borsellino, was killed by Cosa Nostra two months later – “dealt decisive blows against the mafia”.

“Their heroism had rooted anti-mafia values in society, in new generations, in republican institutions,” he added, saying the “relentless fight against organised crime and […] the search for truth” must continue.

The mob used a skateboard to place a 500-kilogramme (1100-pound) charge of TNT and ammonium nitrate in a tunnel under the motorway which linked the airport to the centre of Palermo.

Falcone, driving a white Fiat Croma, was returning from Rome for the weekend. At a look-out point on the hill above, a mobster nicknamed “The Pig” pressed the remote control button as the judge’s three-car convoy passed.

The blast ripped through the asphalt, shredding bodies and metal, and flinging the lead car several hundred metres.

READ ALSO: How murdered judge Giovanni Falcone shaped Italy’s fight against the mafia

On July 19th, Borsellino was also killed in a car bomb attack, along with five members of his escort. Only his driver survived.

Falcone posed a real threat to Cosa Nostra, an organised crime group made famous by The Godfather trilogy, and which boasted access to the highest levels of Italian power.

He and Borsellino were later credited with revolutionising the understanding of the mafia, working closely with the first informants and compiling evidence for a groundbreaking ‘maxi-trial’ in which hundreds of mobsters were convicted in 1987.

“Thanks to Falcone and Borsellino, the Sicilian mafia became a notorious fact, not something that had to be proved to exist at every trial,” anti-mafia prosecutor Marzia Sabella told AFP.