Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Competing narratives in Malaysia Airlines disaster coverage

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Kenya : Police arrest 8 over Mombasa rampage

Read more

FOCUS

Overfishing and the global appetite for bluefin tuna: can Tokyo turn the tide?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

  • Israel hits targets in Gaza despite diplomatic efforts for ceasefire

    Read more

  • France gives go-ahead to pro-Palestinian Paris rally

    Read more

  • Video: Lebanon fears fallout from regional turmoil

    Read more

  • US, European airlines suspend flights to Tel Aviv over Israel-Gaza conflict

    Read more

  • Australian veteran Rogers claims 16th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French Jews mourn French-Israeli soldier killed in Gaza

    Read more

  • PSG punished by UEFA for abuse of disabled Chelsea fans

    Read more

  • Widodo wins Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs '€80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Children killed in minibus crash in eastern France

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

Americas

Kingston plunged into chaos as hunt for drug lord continues

Video by Aurore Cloe DUPUIS

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-05-27

Kingston faced a fourth day of deadly violence on Wednesday as police and military forces stepped up a door-to-door manhunt for a fugitive alleged drug lord in the city’s western slums.

Jamaican soldiers and police clashed with armed supporters of fugitive alleged drug lord Christopher “Dudus” Coke in a fourth day of violence that has left dozens dead and wreaked havoc on the Jamaican capital of Kingston.

“It’s like a hurricane has passed over the city,” FRANCE 24 correspondent Anthony Foster said, reporting from Kingston. “Barricades have been erected, debris is blocking roads, buildings have been broken into, looted and ravaged,” he said of the scene on the ground, adding that it would “take some time for the city to get back to normal”.

Hospital sources said they saw more than 60 bodies brought to a central morgue, although officials confirmed the death toll had reached at least 44. Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding warned the casualty figures would likely rise as the hunt for Coke continues.

“Gun battles between police and armed thugs are still going on," Foster told FRANCE 24. "The entire city is very tense."

Coke’s hometown, the impoverished neighbourhood of West Kingston, has been cordoned off entirely by the fugitive’s supporters using makeshift barricades of tree branches, old cars, tyres and even refrigerators.

“West Kingston is controlled by Coke,” Foster explains, adding that the alleged drug baron will be difficult to apprehend because he benefits from strong popular support among many slum dwellers, who see him as a saviour for offering the jobs, education and security that are sorely lacking in Jamaica.

The United States requested Coke's extradition in August last year for drug trafficking within its borders but Jamaica initially refused, alleging that some of the evidence against him had been gathered through illegal wiretaps. An arrest warrant to begin extradition proceedings was finally issued last week.

State of emergency

The government vowed to continue hunting the elusive fugitive and declared a state of emergency on Sunday as police and troops stepped up their assault on West Kingston.

"The operations being carried out under emergency powers are an extraordinary response to an extraordinary challenge to the safety and security of our citizens," Golding told lawmakers on Tuesday during a heated session of parliament.

"The violence that has been unleashed on the society by armed, criminal elements must be repelled," he added, although he pledged that any excesses arising in connection with the police action would be investigated.

Eyewitnesses told Reuters that military helicopters dropped explosives on civilians in the district of Tivoli Gardens on Monday.

Police have warned Kingston residents to remain indoors and stay away from conflict zones. “People have to realise that we’re fighting a war,” one police chief told reporters.

Officials say the violence has had no impact so far on the island's bauxite, sugar and banana-producing sectors, but some business leaders have complained of a sharp drop in tourism. The United States, United Kingdom and several other European countries have warned their citizens against flying to Kingston while the unrest goes on.

 

Date created : 2010-05-26

  • JAMAICA

    'Dudus' Coke, Kingston's notorious 'Robin Hood'

    Read more

  • JAMAICA

    Emergency declared after violence erupts in capital

    Read more

COMMENT(S)