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Rediff.com  » News » Violence rattles Jamaica, over 50 killed

Violence rattles Jamaica, over 50 killed

Last updated on: May 26, 2010 21:08 IST

Coke lords over Jamaican streets

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Over 50 people have been killed in Jamaica after sleuths stormed a drug gangster's bastion, emerging reports said.

The violence has already spread to capital Kingstons, leaving more than 50 people hurt.  

Jamaica is home to several prominent personalities that include athlete Usain Bolt and  cricketers Chris Gayle, Courtney Walsh and Michael Holding.

Alarmed by the situation, Gayle posted on twitter: Violence in my Sweet Sweet Jamaica,Hope an Pray!! Which Country will keep me for a while?place to stay an a car to drive,nice an relaxing!!

The clashes broke out when military and police tried to arrest drug kingpin Christopher Coke, wanted in the US on criminal charges. He is believed to be hiding in the Tivoli Gardens neighbourhood of the capital, where the clashes have centred.

Coke is the reputed head of an international drug gang known as the Shower Posse, says a report in Times.


Image: A police officer searches two men in Kingston.
Photographs: Reuters
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It's war, says police

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Bodies lay untouched in the streets as fighting raged in Mr Coke's bastion in the Tivoli Gardens slum, Jamaica's first public housing estate, and the nearby business district known as the Corporate Area.

"You must realise, we are fighting a war," Times quoted Glenmore Hinds, the deputy police commissioner, as saying. 

Explosions were heard near the quarter in the capital, and heavy clouds of smoke rose from the area late Monday, said Telegraph, quoting local reports.

Violence initially broke out on Sunday after Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding vowed to extradite Coke to the United States.


Image: Smoke billows over the Tivoli Gardens community in Kingston.
Photographs: Jamaica
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Violence hits Jamaica

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Police reportedly came under fire in parts of West Kingston on Sunday, and a police station was set ablaze after being abandoned by besieged officers who had run out of ammunition.

The stand-off between the government and the drug gangs began on May 17, when Golding suddenly announced that he would extradite Mr Coke to the United States. The Shower Posse, accused of murdering 1,400 people in the 1980s drug wars in the United States, has long been connected to Mr Golding's Labour Party.


Image: Police officers search a man outside his van in Kingston
Photographs: Reuters
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