Travel News » May 2010 » Violence erupts in Jamaican capital where drug lord lurks

Violence erupts in Jamaican capital where drug lord lurks


At midday on Monday, a wave of soldiers flocked to the Tivoli Gardens in west Kingston, the Jamaican capital. The move follows outbreaks of violence throughout the capital. Two police officers were killed on Sunday and six soldiers were injured. Police stations were also under attack on Friday.

Jamaican security forces have stormed the stronghold of notorious drug lord, Christopher Coke. A soldier was killed in the latest eruption of violence. There have also been reports of violence in other areas of Kingston and the route to and from the Norman Manley International Airport has been intermittently blocked by outbreaks of gunfire.

Helicopters soared overhead as soldiers and police searched houses in west Kingston for Mr Coke. Residents in the Tivoli Gardens were advised to stay indoors to avoid any sudden outbursts of violence.

In spite of his drug connections, some local residents see him as a community leader and were determined to fight his cause. Mr Coke has been known to give money to support local children and those less fortunate. Some believe he does more for the community than parliament. Before the fighting kicked off, supporters staged protests against his arrest and they continue to fight for his freedom.

Christopher Coke is the leader of a violent, gun-wielding gang, who smuggle drugs internationally. If caught, he will face a life sentence in prison. When Prime Minister Bruce Manning announced the extradition of Mr Coke, violence erupted in Kingston.

Smoke billows from the Tivoli Gardens and sporadic outbreaks of gunfire can be heard throughout west Kingston as the search for Mr Coke continues. It is feared that violence will continue to spread to areas outside of Kingston.

The Foreign Office has advised all but essential travel to Kingston. If you are planning a trip to Jamaica, bear in mind that your travel insurance policy may not cover you if you travel against Foreign Office advice. Contact your travel insurance provider for details of what your policy will cover you for.

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