Italy nabs mob­sters plot­ting to as­sas­si­nate In­te­rior Min­is­ter

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

ROME: Italy has thwarted a mob­ster plan to as­sas­si­nate the coun­try’s in­te­rior min­is­ter, ar­rest­ing six Mafia bosses in the Si­cil­ian town of Cor­leone, po­lice said yes­ter­day. The six are close al­lies of ruth­less Mafia king Sal­va­tore “Toto” Ri­ina, who is cur­rently serv­ing mul­ti­ple life sen­tences for mur­der un­der Italy’s ul­tra-hard Ar­ti­cle 41-bis prison regime, which iso­lates in­mates com­pletely.

Wire­tapped con­ver­sa­tions be­tween the six had re­vealed a plot to mur­der In­te­rior Min­is­ter An­gelino Al­fano be­cause they blamed him for strength­en­ing Ar­ti­cle 41-bis, Palermo pros­e­cu­tor Francesco Lo Voi said at a press con­fer­ence. “They made ref­er­ences to a pos­si­ble at­tack on Al­fano, some of them wanted to do it in Rome and oth­ers in Si­cily,” he said af­ter a se­ries of raids around Palermo with snif­fer dogs and a he­li­copter landed the mob­sters in cuffs.

“The plan was to at­tack when Al­fano’s se­cu­rity was less­ened,” Lo Voi said, adding that anti-mafia in­ves­ti­ga­tors had im­me­di­ately warned the in­te­rior min­is­ter and his body­guards of the dan­ger. The six men were ar­rested af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, be­gun in Septem­ber 2014, re­vealed not only the as­sas­si­na­tion bid but also deep di­vi­sions within the or­ga­nized crime group, where Ri­ina’s wife Ninetta now calls the shots. The wire­taps were taken a few months ago and the plan ini­tially ap­peared to have been dropped, but po­lice heard chat­ter be­tween the men over the past few weeks about hid­ing firearms, spark­ing the ar­rests.

‘Kill him like JFK’ “This morn­ing’s im­por­tant op­er­a­tion in Cor­leone con­firms the per­ils of the Mafia, which only ap­pears sub­dued and silent,” the head of Italy’s anti-mafia com­mis­sion Rosi Bindi said. Jus­tice Min­is­ter An­drea Or­lando agreed, warn­ing that “the Mafia has been dra­mat­i­cally re­duced, but it still rep­re­sents a dan­ger for se­cu­rity and the coun­try not to be un­der­es­ti­mated”, ex­press­ing the “ut­most sol­i­dar­ity with Al­fano”. The six ar­rested men lived ru­ral lives on farms in the area of Si­cily made fa­mous by the God­fa­ther films and were led by Rosario Lo Bue, 62, who walked miles to se­cret meet­ings with ac­com­plices in vine­yards in a bid to elude wire­taps. In phone-tapped con­ver­sa­tions the gang said they wanted Al­fano to meet the same fate as John Fitzger­ald Kennedy, the US pres­i­dent as­sas­si­nated in an open-top car in Dal­las, Texas in 1963. They also claimed the Si­cil­ian Mafia was be­hind his mur­der. “Who killed Kennedy? Our clan in Amer­ica. — AFP

ABA: Pro-Bi­afra supporters wave flags and chant songs as they march through the streets of Aba, south­east­ern Nige­ria, to call for the release of a key ac­tivist. — AFP

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