Five Men Killed in Crime Family Feud
CITTANOVA, Italy (AP) _ A 42-year-old man, his nephew and three cousins were shot to death in a flareup in a 24-year-old feud among ’Ndrangheta crime families in Calabria, police said.
Lt. Col. Sabato Palazzo, head of the Carabinieri paramilitary police unit investigating the killings, said the 42-year-old man and his 18-year-old nephew were gunned down Tuesday as they drove on a state highway running through Cittanova, a city of 10,000 people in the middle of the Calabrian ″toe″ on the boot-shaped Italian peninsula.
Then, about six or seven minutes later, three other men, cousins of the victims, were fatally shot at a refreshment stand in town, according to Palazzo, the top Carabinieri investigator in the province of Reggio Di Calabria.
″It appears that the same three men who shot the first two also did the second killings,″ Palazzo said in a telephone interview from Cittanova.
The Italian news agency ANSA reported that the weapons used in the attacks were apparently shotguns and .38 caliber pistols.
The victims’ names were not released. But Palazzo said they were all part of the Raso-Albanese family and the attackers were believed to be members of the Facchineri family.
The two families started a deadly feud in 1963 that has claimed 48 lives, including Tuesday’s killings, Palazzo said. The last previous killing blamed on the feud occurred in 1983, he said.
The ’Ndrangheta, whose terrain is the less developed south of Italy, is a crime organization which is compared to the Sicilian Mafia. Battles between rival crime families in the province of Reggio di Calabria, which includes Cittanova, have claimed about 75 lives so far this year.
Investigators have said that the recent violence appears to be the result of a struggle for control of local drug trafficking and of government and private contracts to develop the area’s economy.