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Rome will send hundreds of soldiers to the Naples region for three months to help police fight the local Camorra mafia, blamed for an attack that left an Italian and six Africans dead, the government said Tuesday.
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said the soldiers would be deployed "to areas that we think will need better security because of the rise in crime" following last Thursday's shootings in and near Castel Volturno, close to Naples.
The cabinet approved the addition of 500 soldiers to some 3,000 already deployed in troubled Italian cities to boost security, and most will be sent to the Naples region, Maroni said.
The Italian owner of a local recreation hall, three Ghanaians, two Liberians and a Togolese were killed in last week's shootings.
About 400 police reinforcements arrived in the area on Monday, which also saw the first arrest in the case.
The scale of the carnage was nearly without precedent even in a region in the grips of the notorious Camorra mafia.
The Casalesi clan, considered the Camorra's most dangerous and powerful, controls drug trafficking and prostitution in the Caserta area where most of the soldiers will be sent.
The brutal show of force may have been a settling of scores linked to drug trafficking, but investigators have made no official comment.
The centre-left opposition scorned the government plan as too little, too late.
"This measure is inadequate because it is too brief," Senator Giuseppe Lumia, vice-chairman of the parliamentary anti-mafia committee, told AFP. "To do things properly the army should stay at least three years."
The conservative government, which won April elections after campaigning on security issues, did not make its "belated decision until after a terrible massacre," opposition lawmaker Marina Sereni told reporters.
Accusing the government of issuing mere "sound bites on security," Sereni, the deputy leader of the Democratic Party's parliamentary group, slammed proposed budget cuts affecting security forces.
The government is "abandoning whole sections of our country to organised crime," she charged.
 

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Caserta, 26 Sept. (AKI) - Police in the southern Italian province of Caserta on Friday arrested four alleged Mafia members suspected of the brutal murder of six African immigrants.

One suspect was arrested by police earlier this week and another remains at large.

The gang is believed to have been operating the Mafia or Camorra's extortion racket in the province of Caserta, just north of Naples.

The Italian government on Tuesday announced it would send 500 soldiers to the area to help fight organised crime after the immigrants were shot dead outside a tailor's shop by Kalashnikov-wielding hitmen.

The massacre occurred in the town of Castelvolturno which has a large number of immigrants and may have been part of a local turf war caused by African drug pushers muscling in on Mafia territory. There were also suggestions that they had refused to pay 'protection money' to their Mafia godfathers.

Hitmen shot dead gambling arcade owner, Antonio Celiento, in the nearby coastal resort of Baia Verde in the same province on the same day as the massacre, after he refused to pay 'protection money' to the Camorra.

Police arrested Camorra-linked suspect Alfonso Cesarano in Baia Verde on Monday in connection with the Castelvolturno massacre.

Cesarano was under house arrest at his parents' home at the time, Italy's Interior Minister, Roberto Maroni, said.

Cesarano has a police record for drugs and has strong ties to the Camorra, for whom he has done several jobs, the head of the area police said.
 

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Italian police arrest scores of suspected mobsters

By ALESSANDRA RIZZO, Associated Press Writer

ROME - Italian police made sweeping arrests against the mob Tuesday, targeting a powerful clan as well as three suspects linked to a recent gangland-style slaying of six African immigrants near Naples, authorities said.
In a series of raids in Naples and surrounding areas, where the Camorra crime syndicate is based, police also seized assets worth euro100 million ($143.5 million) and weapons, including two AK-47s believed to have been used Sept. 18 against the Africans, police and government officials said.
Interior Minister Roberto Maroni hailed the operation as a serious blow to the Camorra organization.
"We have waged war on the Camorra," Maroni said. "We want to exert pressure like never before and keep this pressure up until the war is won."
The three men - all on Italy's 100 top most wanted list - were arrested in small villas on the coast near Naples, said Gianfrancesco Siazzu, the top commander of the Carabinieri police that ran the operation.
Police searching the hideouts also found pistols, Carabinieri outfits and other disguises, Siazzu said.
Another man suspected in the African slayings was arrested last week.
In a separate operation involving over 1,000 officers, police arrested 26 suspects believed to be part of a powerful Camorra clan. Five suspects remained at large, said police in Caserta, a town near Naples that is home to the clan.
The suspects are charged with Mafia association, extortion, illegal possession of weapons and, for some, murder and robbery, police said.
Among those arrested was the wife of a jailed boss, 48-year-old Giuseppina Nappa, who is believed to be the clan's paymaster.
Police also seized dozens of cars, weapons, documents and books detailing the clan's illegal activities, shut down dozens of companies and put more than 100 buildings under seal.
Italy is sending 500 more soldiers to the Caserta area this week in response to the shooting of the six Africans, which sparked rioting in an area already rife with lawlessness.
Police believe the Camorra orchestrated the slayings to punish the Africans for getting involved in drug trafficking, one of the Camorra's lucrative activities.
The troops will patrol streets and man checkpoints in Caserta and other crime-ridden areas. Maroni said the troops will start deploying in coming days.
Weeks ago, Italy sent about 3,000 soldiers to major cities and tourist-sensitive sites to beef up security.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080930...fia_arrests;_ylt=AsfzU4.Q.71kGqKMo0dAD0Cs0NUE
 
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