After years of calm, Mob war returns to Naples

Police swoop on dozens of drugs suspects after brother of gang boss is shot dead in café

Naples, the evocative but crime-plagued southern port, fears the bloodiest mob turf war in recent Italian history is set to resume on the city's streets.

The first sign was the seaside assassination of 48-year-old mobster Gaetano Marino on 23 August. He was gunned down in his swimming trunks in front of terrified bathers at the Terracina resort half way between Rome and Naples. Then in the early hours of Sunday morning came the response: the killing of Raffaele Abete, 41, in a bar in the Camorra-riddled Scampia area of the city. Both victims were the brothers of bosses who head opposing factions in Scampia, the drug-infested area which formed the backdrop to the mafia film Gomorrah.

The tit-for-tat murders have raised fears of a continuation of the infamous Scissionisti ("Secessionist") drug wars, in which more than 60 people were killed in Naples in an orgy of violence between 2004 and 2005. That conflict prompted a public backlash against the Camorra with a huge crackdown by the authorities and the arrest of senior bosses.

The latest ominous developments have seen police and carabinieri reinforcements flood into Scampia.

Corriere della Sera reported yesterday that officers had held dozens of people in possession of drugs and weapons, while two assassins had been captured on their way to another hit as part of the escalating feud.

"We've carried out strong controls in the territory at Scampia. But it's probably not enough and we've got to do more," said Anna Maria Cancellieri, the Interior Minister.

The surge in violence is blamed on a turf war for the lucrative drug market in the north of the city. The proponents are thought to be factions of the Scissionisti, who themselves broke away from the ruling Di Lauro clan in 2004. That conflict between the Di Lauro and the Scissionisti became one of the bloodiest internecine battles ever seen among Italian mobsters.

The fight then and now is over one of Europe's biggest local narcotics markets, thought to be worth more than €100m a year. The Naples police chief, Luigi Merolla, blamed "young drug dealers looking to increase space with daring operations".

"It recalls the Corleonesi [the Sicilian crime family] when they launched their internal coup in Cosa Nostra", he told La Stampa.

However, one Camorra expert, Corrado De Rosa, an author and expert witness at mafia trials, said the return to the level of bloodshed of 2004-5 was unlikely because the nature of the Camorra had changed.

"The Camorra in Scampia has fragmented," he said. "There have been lots of high-profile arrests and there aren't the same big power blocks any more to organise the violence.

"It's more like New York or Bogata now. There are just as many vicious and dangerous people in circulation, but there isn't the same degree of organisation." But he noted too, that the more chaotic nature of the Camorra made it even more difficult for the police and magistrates to stem their activities.

A leading church figure said whether or not the Camorra succeeded in killing each other, the corrosive social and economic effect they had on the city and surrounding region, showed few signs of abating.

Crescenzio Sepe, the Archbishop of Naples, said: "The Camorra is a tumour. It's an animal that when you cut its head off, two more grow back. All this [new violence] was predictable."

Disorganised crime: the Camorra conflict

The notorious Camorra war of 2004-5 kicked off when discontents known as the Scissionisti (the Secessionists) within the all-powerful Di Lauro clan in northern Naples set up rival operations.

The rebels were led by Raffaele Amato, known as the Spaniard. He formed alliances with other top mobsters in Naples, including Gennaro Marino and Arcangelo Abete – the Camorristi whose brothers have been killed in the latest violence.

The Di Lauro clan responded in October 2004 by killing two key rebels, Fulvio Montanino and Claudio Salerno. At their funeral, police arrested two Di Lauro hit men with machine guns, who were apparently there to carry out a massacre.

The subsequent murder of a 22-year-old woman, Gelsomina Verde, by Di Lauro mobsters seeking information on the whereabouts of another Scissionisti leader triggered outrage.

The Interior Minister sent an extra 325 police men into the city culminating in the operation on December 7, 2004, involving officers, that saw 52 people arrested.

Within nine months the Di Lauro leadership and Raffaele Amato were behind bars. But in less than 18 months 60 people were murdered.

Two weeks after his arrest in September 2005, Paulo Di Lauro, above left, famously kissed Vincenzo Pariante, one of the Scissionisti leaders, during an appearance in court.

This was seen as a sign that the feud had ended. But now it seems fresh feuds are brewing.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game