Five Detention Service and AFM personnel are under arrest for questioning after a migrant from Mali died in a Detention Service van last night while being taken to a health centre.

The Detention Service said the man, a 32-year-old, had earlier been aggressive to other migrants and had assaulted and injured Detention Service officers who then restrained him.

The migrant died as he was being taken to Paola Health Centre.

Police sources said that the migrant did not die a natural death and possibly died after being violently beaten.

In a statement, the Detention Service said the migrant had escaped from a Detention centre three years ago.

Yesterday afternoon he called at Floriana health centre seeking assistance. The police established that he was an escaped migrant. He was taken to Safi Detention Centre, where he was aggressive against other migrants.

He was taken to Floriana health centre once more and an appointment was made for him to be seen by a psychiatrist this morning.

On being taken back to Safi he was aggressive once more and the other migrants were about to assault him. He was therefore taken to the guard room. He escaped, but was recaptured at Safi.

He then assaulted the Detention Service officers. One of them suffered a bite and others suffered injuries.

According to procedure for escaped migrants, he was taken to Paola health centre for a check-up, under strict escort. He was found dead on arrival.

The police in a separate statement said that when they arrived near the health centre, the escorting officials noticed that the migrant was unconscious and they immediately called a doctor to assist. However the migrant was found to be dead. 

Magistrate Miriam Hayman LLD is holding an inquiry. The police are investigating all the circumstances of the case, including the conduct of the officers who came in contact with the migrant.

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