Jamaica declares emergency in capital over violence

Jamaica’s government declared a state of emergency in parts of its capital Kingston Sunday after shooting and firebomb attacks on police stations by suspected supporters of an alleged drug lord who faces extradition to the United States. The emergency covered the West Kingston and St. Andrew districts of the capital where gunmen fired on two police stations and set fire to another. The attackers were suspected supporters of Christopher “Dudus” Coke who the government is seeking under a U.S. extradition request.

At least one policeman was injured. Streets into the Tivoli Gardens area of West Kingston, where Coke is believed to be hiding, were barricaded, witnesses said.

The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel alert warning its citizens of the possibility of violence in Jamaica’s Kingston Metropolitan area. The Caribbean island is a popular tourism destination for U.S. and European visitors.

Tensions in Jamaica rose over the last week after Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced he was starting proceedings to extradite Coke, who is wanted in the United States on cocaine trafficking and gun-running charges.

U.S. prosecutors describe Coke as the leader of the infamous “Shower Posse” that murdered hundreds of people by showering them with bullets during the cocaine wars of the 1980s.

Relations between Jamaica and the United States grew strained when Jamaica ignored an earlier extradition request for Coke, who is a supporter of the ruling Jamaica Labor Party and wields influence in the volatile inner city constituency that Golding represents

For the original Reuters report go to http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/world/05/23/10/jamaica-declares-emergency-capital-over-violence

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