Police search Calabrian village as murders are linked to clan feud

Italian police swarmed through the village of San Luca in Calabria yesterday, in the aftermath of the massacre in Duisburg, Germany, in which six men with roots in the village were slaughtered in their cars early on Wednesday morning.

Police searched dozens of houses and mounted road blocks in San Luca but made no arrests. Many of the houses where they conducted searches had been hastily abandoned, they said.

In Duisburg, German and Italian police examined poor quality video footage for clues to the identity of the killers. More than 70 bullets were fired at the six men as they sat in their cars. Each victim was then finished off with a bullet to the head, although one was still alive when police arrived at the scene. He died before he could reach hospital.

Germans were stunned by the attack. One local youth left a sign reading simply "Warum?" ("Why?") outside the restaurant.

It is the first time that the 'Ndrangheta, the tongue-twisting name of the crime syndicate of Calabria, the region at the toe of the Italian boot, have exported one of their feuds outside Italy. Hundreds of families with Calabrian roots live in Duisburg. The Pelle-Romeo clan, to which the victims have been linked, has been present in the city for about 20 years, and their rivals, the Strangio-Nirta, also have a presence there. Until this week, however, they had not clashed openly in the city.

Italian investigators said they believed that the attack was intended to eliminate one man, Marco Marmo, 25, who is under police investigation for suspected involvement in the murder of the wife of the godfather of another clan last Christmas. The other five may have been killed to eliminate witnesses, they said.

The killings were the latest and bloodiest round of murders in a 16-year-old vendetta that began when the members of one clan of the 'Ndrangheta threw eggs at members of a rival clan in San Luca. Bullets soon replaced eggs and Duisburg's Assumption Day massacre - occurring on the morning of Ferr'agosto, Italy's most important summer holiday - brought the number of victims in the feud to 15.

Although less well-known than Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian Mafia, the Calabrian syndicate is deeply rooted and very wealthy. In a recent report, Italian intelligence agencies said it was richer and more powerful than any other criminal organisation in the country.

"With the 'Ndrangheta, the motives aren't only about honour but above all about economic interests - money laundering and drug trafficking," assistant police chief Nicola Cavaliere said. About 80 per cent of Europe's cocaine supply is believed to come in to the continent via Calabria.

John Dickie, the author of Cosa Nostra, a history of the Mafia, said: "These killings are exceptional and unusual because the Mafias have a huge interest in investing abroad, in property, hotels and restaurants. It's a bad idea to attract attention in this way.

"Cosa Nostra has pursued its wars abroad... but never on this scale. The 'Ndrangheta has both the strengths and the weaknesses of its looser organisation. It has the strength of greater flexibility - but the weakness of making mistakes like this.

"It also has the strengths and weaknesses that come from blood ties. Unlike the Sicilian Mafia, there have been practically no turncoats because it would mean turning against your own flesh and blood. But the Calabrians are much more vulnerable to blood feud deterioration of this sort."

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
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

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, RSPSS, R, AI, CPLEX, SQL)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Law Costs

Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...

Junior VB.NET Application Developer (ASP.NET, SQL, Graduate)

£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...

C# .NET Web Developer (ASP.NET, JavaScript, jQuery, XML, XLST)

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution