Turf war fueling recent killings – gov’t

Source: Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party

The recent spike in killings are reprisals between drug gangs involved in a turf war, according to information from the police.

Speaking to the media at the weekly post-Cabinet news briefing on Thursday, information minister Melford Nicholas said the police force’s top brass was summoned before the Cabinet.

“We took a look at the troubling issue of crime and what seems to be would-be assassinations by members who are involved in the underworld and certainly from all indications from the law enforcement agencies the recent spate of assassination [type] killings have been associated with acts of reprisals and counter-reprisals by certain persons involved in illicit activities,” he said.

According to Nicholas, Wednesday’s consultation was to look at the measures the force has adopted to get the crime situation under control and allay public fears.

“It has certainly been troubling that these acts of assassination are becoming more brazen, more daring and that some of these instances are taking place in broad daylight. Certainly, the killing of the elderly lady in the Gray’s Green area last weekend has raised the level of anxiety in the population,” Nicholas said.

“It would seem that even persons who may not be necessarily involved in any of these illicit activities could fall prey in the seeming acts of reprisals that are taking place where persons are in the family unit of the persons associated with these instances.”

And while Nicholas was coy with the details, citing national security reasons, he said increased law enforcement activity was expected.

The minister was also reluctant to divulge information on the additional resources requested by the force but he outlined some technological possibilities.

“If I could just give one of the areas that has helped the police is the ability to do video surveillance and even with respect to the stop and search arrangements that they do, looking for arms and ammunition, they could sometimes be helped were they in a position to have a more rapid response.

There are times where there is a cordon where they will be doing a search and persons would suspiciously turn around to avoid being detected. Perhaps maybe one of the things that would be able to allow them to become more interested in such fleeing persons would be the utilisation of drones for them to be able to track the path of those absconding vehicles,” the minister mused.

According to the government spokesman, the police also pointed out that social media was being used to thwart their efforts.

 

(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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