20 September, 2008


Camorra blamed in immigrant murders
Police suspect notorious Casalesi clan killed six
(ANSA) - Caserta, September 19 - Police on Friday said the notorious Casalesi clan of Naples' Camorra Mafia was probably behind the murder of six immigrants in the small Campania town of Castelvolturno.

Three Ghanaians, two Liberians and a Togo national were shot dead on Thursday night at an ethnic clothing shop where local residents often brought clothes for minor adjustments.

A third Liberian died in hospital on Friday morning, and doctors were operating on another man injured in the attack.

Investigators said the 84 shell cases found at the scene of the crime came from a Kalashnikov assault rifle and a semi-automatic pistol.

Police believe the same weapons were used 20 minutes earlier in nearby Baia Verde to kill a 53-year-old Italian known to have had links with the Casalesi clan, who was shot 20 times.

According to investigators the killers may have been posing as policemen, since witnesses reported seeing four men wearing uniforms pull up in a car with flashing lights.

Police said they believed the murders were connected to drugs trafficking in the town, where African immigrants had recently begun dealing autonomously and had stopped paying percentages to the local Mafia.

But relatives of the dead men reacted angrily to suggestions that the killing was drugs-related.

''He worked from morning till night, he didn't even stop to eat,'' said the partner of the 28-year-old Ghanaian who worked in the shop.

''He was innocent, he wasn't a criminal,'' Another friend of the Ghanaian said he had been ''murdered while he was sewing''.

Immigrants claiming the crime was race-related clashed with police on Friday after setting up a road block in front of the shop, shouting ''you Italians are all b******s, this is racism''.


Other residents said the murders were just the latest of a series of Mafia crimes in the small town and hit out at the government for abandoning them to the Camorra.

''Does this seem like a normal town to you? Is it normal that 18 people have died in a few months when the town's population is less than 20,000?'' asked one man in the town's central square.

''We're dead men walking here. The state has abandoned us, our fate is sealed,'' he said.

Another elderly man at a bar in the square said it was impossible to carry out any business activity here without paying the Mafia first.

''We're afraid here, afraid to be killed even sitting outside a bar. People say nothing because they are afraid of dying''. The Bishop of Naples, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, called on the Camorra to put down their weapons following the massacre and compared them to ''poisonous snakes''.

''Until these bearers of death are defeated we will always have cemeteries full of hatred and violence,'' he said.

One of the most feared Naples Camorra outfits, the Casalesi clan's criminal empire was exposed in Roberto Saviano's worldwide bestseller Gomorra, now also a film that won the second prize at Cannes this year

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