Kingston, Jamaica in state of emergency as death toll rises, violence continues

05/26/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Kingston, Jamaica—With Kingston in a state of emergency, violence amongst Jamaican soldiers and the armed followers of a notorious drug lord continue. The carnage broke out when supporters of the alleged drug kingpin, identified as Christopher “Dudus” Coke, stormed through downtown Kingston Sunday, May 23, 2010. Coke faces U.S. extradition for drug and gun-running charges, according to information provided by Reuters.

On Sunday, Coke’s devoted gunmen blasted approximately five police stations, setting some ablaze. They also carried out carjackings and went on a pillaging rampage throughout the island’s capital.

U.S. Prosecutors referred to Coke as the leader of the “Shower Posse,” a clan that attacked and murdered hundreds during the cocaine wars of the 1980s.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding affirmed the state of emergency on Sunday, noting, “We are facing a crisis… The measures are extraordinary, but they are extraordinary responses to extraordinary actions taken by some.”

While reports stated there were 31 causalities resultant of the ceaseless gunfire and violence, other reports indicate the death toll may have risen to over 60. The U.S. State Department subsequently urged Americans to postpone vacations to Kingston and its adjacent cities.

Jamaican soldiers and police raided the Tivoli Gardens slum of West Kingston Monday, searching for Coke. According to police spokesperson Karl Angell, there were 26 civilian fatalities. Three members of the security forces were also killed, while 25 others suffered injuries. Police apprehended more than 200 individuals and confiscated their weapons as well.

As of Tuesday, civilians residing in Tivoli Gardens contended they were “roughed up” and confined to their homes by soldiers. Some residents even alleged military helicopters were used to eject explosives into the slum.

Information Minister Daryl Vaz, on the other hand, contested such claims. “This county is under siege by criminals and the time has come where it is going to be dealt with and this government is prepared to deal with it,” Vaz stated.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan- Legal News for Mass Casualty Lawyers.

YouTube video provided by: Reuters

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