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Gang feud puts Tivoli Gardens on edge

Friday, January 11, 2013    

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POLICE are steering clear of linking Monday night's gun attack on a resident of Tivoli Gardens to an ongoing gang feud that has left sections of West Kingston tense.

Police report that minutes to 11 Monday night, several loud explosions were heard in a section of the community known as 'Bumps'. When they arrived on the scene, six .44 millimetre spent shells were recovered.

Minutes later, a man turned up at the Kingston Public Hospital with multiple gunshot wounds. The man was shot in the chest, buttocks and both legs.

However, crime officer for the Kingston West Division, Detective Inspector Percival Anderson, said it was not yet clear if that shooting was linked to the feud.

"We are not yet in a position to say whether or not it was linked to the ongoing tension in the division," Anderson told the Jamaica Observer.

Tivoli Gardens was once seen as an impregnable criminal fortress that was off limits to the security forces. However, since the May 2010 joint police/military operation in the community -- which led to the eventual arrest and extradition of then community don Christopher 'Dudus' Coke -- a police outpost was established as the authorities vowed never to let the community be ruled by gang lords again.

There have been constant foot and motorised patrols by police and soldiers since.

"We have concentrated patrols in the community and the police post has been operating efficiently," Anderson said.

Since Coke's extradition, there has been a split among the criminal outfit which previously operated with impunity in Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town.

Police report that Strikers Gang, which is fiercely loyal to keeping Coke's legacy alive, has been challenged by Scare Dem Gang, which has broken away and has vowed to set a new order of criminality in the area.

"The Scare Dem gang are vowing that they will not be led by any of the Coke loyalists and want to have a free rein, but they are being challenged by the Strikers who want to keep the community under the control of those loyal to 'Dudus'. This has caused tension in the division, especially in Denham Town," one policeman disclosed.

Since the start of the year, there have been one murder and one shooting in the division, while police fatally shot one man and recovered an illegal firearm last weekend.

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