5/25/2010

So much for Jamaica's gun ban

Apparently a lot of gang members were able to arm themselves despite the gun ban.
Thousands of heavily armed police and soldiers continued an assault into the capital's most violent slums on Tuesday, hunting for weapons and battling die-hard defenders of a powerful Jamaican gang leader sought by the U.S. Officials said at least 30 people have died.
Jamaica's security forces, reeling from bold attacks by masked gangsters loyal to underworld boss Christopher "Dudus" Coke, were in the midst of a nearly daylong assault in the heart of West Kingston's ramshackle slums, long afflicted by gang strife.

On Tuesday, the third consecutive day of unrest, masked gunmen in West Kingston vanished down side streets barricaded with barbed wire and junked cars intended to block outsiders. The sound of gunfire echoed across the neighborhoods in Jamaica's south coast, far from the all-inclusive tourist meccas of the north shore.

Police spokesman Corporal Richard Minott told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the fighting in West Kingston alone has killed 26 civilians one security official. Police had reported that earlier fighting killed two officers and a soldier.

It was not immediately clear what was happening inside the patchwork of slums where Coke's supporters began massing last week after Prime Minister Bruce Golding dropped his nine-month refusal to extradite Coke, who has ties to his political party.

Kingston streets outside the battle zones were mostly empty, schools and numerous businesses were closed, hospitals offered only emergency services and the government appealed for donations of blood. The government on Sunday implemented a monthlong state of emergency. . . .

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