Tit-for-tat Mob killings spark fears of new turf war in Rome as Neapolitan gangster Modesto Pellino is gunned down

 

Fears of a Mafia turf war in Rome and the surrounding areas have being re-ignited after a Neapolitan gangster was gunned down in busy square in front of dozens of people.

The cold-blooded hit follows more than two dozen execution-style killings on Rome's streets in the past 12 months, as mobsters from the capital and elsewhere fight over territory and the lucrative trade in drugs and extortion.

The latest victim, Modesto Pellino, 46, had a criminal record and known links with the Moccia clan of Naples's Camorra. He was shot seven times at 5.30pm on Monday in the busy central square in Nettuno near Rome. Experts said the killing indicated how organised crime in Rome was flourishing.

"This is the umpteenth episode of tit-for-tat in an area where the clans have been jockeying for dominance for some time," Zaratti Filiberto, chairman of the Lazio region's security and crime prevention commission, told La Repubblica newspaper.

"After some months of silence the gunfire has returned … The brutality of the murder, carried out in broad daylight in one of the city's main squares shows how worryingly powerful organised crime has become in this area." He said that the killing underlined warnings by police chiefs that parts of Rome and Lazio were becoming a volatile patchwork of rival gangs from different Mafia groups. The upsurge in violence may in part be down to younger elements in Rome's resurgent Magliana gang fighting over the drug trade, possibly in conflict with members of southern Mafia groups such as 'Ndrangheta, and Camorra.

Opposition politicians have accused Rome's Mayor, Gianni Alemanno, of failing on his promises to clean up the capital, which they say has become the new "Wild West" – a term previously reserved for some of the most lawless southern parts of Italy, such as Calabria. In return, Mayor Alemanno has admitted the city was seeing an "assault by organised crime, the like of which we haven't seen since the 1970s".

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