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Denver’s Senegalese Community Reacts to Alleged Motive, Charging Decision in Fatal Arson Fire

DENVER — Colorado’s Senegalese community is reacting to the revelation that an arson that killed five family members in Green Valley Ranch last August was not a hate crime, but a case of mistaken identity.

The family’s attorney, Qusair Mohamedbhai, said the rest of the family is still trying to come to terms with what happened.

“They’re just lost and they’re just sort of going through this process,” he said.

Law enforcement sources told Denver7 Investigates that three teenagers, wearing masks, were allegedly seeking retribution for a drug deal gone awry, but set fire to the wrong house on Aug. 5.

Five immigrants from Senegal — Djibril Diol, his wife, Adja, their daughter, Khadija, his sister, Hassan and niece, Hawa Baye — died in that blaze.

“The safest place that anybody could be is (their) house,” said Papa Dia, of the African Leadership Group. “And being home in the middle of the night, and for people to come just by mistake… to have five precious lives taken by mistake doesn’t make it any easier.”

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