Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Europe launches navigation satellites to rival GPS

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Iraqi Sunnis quit govt talks after mosque massacre

    Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Hollande is ‘nobody’s president’ says former French minister

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    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)