How many lives will be lost in the battle raging on the streets of Jamaica before Duddus is captured and turned over to the United States government
? To Jamaicans he is a Robin Hood among the drug traffickers and welcomed as part of the crime and corruption they see daily in Kingston and around the island country.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force
is reporting that 26 civilians have been killed and 25 injured in the West Kingston operation. The report — the first official confirmation from the police — was issued this morning. One member of the security forces was also killed and seven injured, the police said.
Addressing parliament today Prime Minister Bruce Golding regretted the loss of life in the ongoing operation by security forces in West Kingston but said that the state would be extending the operation to pursue gunmen in other communities
The police said those killed were mostly males and their bodies were recovered from areas close to barricades, building entrances and gullies running through Tivoli Gardens. In addition to injuries and fatalities, 211 people including six women were detained.
The security forces are also reporting seizures of firearms, ammunition, binoculars, army fatigues and ballistic vests. The operations which include building searches will continue and the public will be informed of the outcome, reports the Jamaica Observer.
The war has continued with yet a third day of violence since the government declared a state of emergency
in volatile sections of the capital as prime minister Bruce Golding vowed "strong and decisive action" to restore order. The limited emergency in Jamaica, a popular Caribbean tourism destination, covered districts where gunmen shot at or set fire to five police stations on Sunday.
The assailants are suspected allies of Christopher 'Duddus' Coke and the government has called on him to surrender to face a US judicial request seeking his extradition on cocaine trafficking and gun-running charges.
US prosecutors have described Coke in a 10 page indictment
as the leader of the Shower Posse, which murdered hundreds of people by showering them with bullets during the cocaine mafia wars
of the 1980s.
The Canadian police said the Shower Posse, which emerged in the 1980s, has entrenched itself in Toronto, dealing drugs and fuelling internecine gang warfare. According to the police, the Toronto members of the Shower Posse brokered the sale of drugs shipped through the Caribbean to feuding Toronto street gangs, notably the Five Point Generalz and the Falstaff Crips, reported the Jamaican Gleaner.
The drug gang members are being rounded up by the Toronto Police Service who said in early May
"they had never been able to get at the local members of the Shower Posse as they have in the past 24 hours, even though the gang has been understood to have been operating in the city for years."
Jamaican police and military are encountering the same problems in Jamaica where Coke has many supporters who depend on his drug money for their minimal basic needs in this poverty stricken country where tourism is the only income opportunity to service the inclusive hotels that cater to the foreign travelers seeking sun and sand on beaches of Montego Bay.
For now travel advisories have been issued by the US State Department
on Friday urging US citizens to weigh the risks of traveling to and within the Kingston metropolitan area.
The Canadian government has also issued travel warnings and advisories regarding nonessential travel in or out Kingston and the country of Jamaica.
Both governments consider it dangerous at this time, with the war on drugs having turned into a bloodbath on the streets of Kingston and around the Tivoli Gardens' stronghold of Christopher Duddus Coke and his Shower Posse
The Jamaican government is asking the citizens to put down their weapons, stay inside and stop blocking the streets of these areas in an effort to protect Duddus from being arrested by police.
While many are questioning the connection between the drug lord Duddus and the Jamaican government the Christian Science Monitor reported Golding had fought Coke's extradition for the better part of a year, though Jamaican analysts and opposition politicians still argue over whether it was out of fear or friendship.
They went on to say, Golding's party has profited from its relationship with the Tivoli dons for 30 years and that Coke had warned he wouldn't be extradited without a fight. The prime minister should have been well aware of what would happen when you try to extradite a Coke – or any Shower Posse leader, for that matter – to the US.
While many in Jamaica are carrying signs saying they love Duddus and will die for him, Jamaica National Security Minister Dwight Nelson says Duddus is not untouchable as some falsely claim. He said "they are going to hunt them down as they ought to be hunted and bring the full brunt of the law upon them."
Until that time how many more civilians, military, Jamaican Police Service and Shower Posse members will die is yet to be known.
related story: Jamaica declares state of emergency in war with drug lord