Police in southern Italy have arrested more than 30 mafia suspects, thought to be connected to a feud which led to six murders in Germany. They carried out a series of raids in and around the mountain village of San Luca in Calabria, which is the centre of a 16 year old feud within the underworld organisation known as ‘Ndrangheta. Among those held was Giovanni Nirta, the suspected head of the mafia clan, whose wife was shot dead last Christmas.
Officers armed with machine-guns searched undergound bunkers, after three suspects were discovered hiding in a secret annexe, connected to a mobster’s basement. Senior officers have refused to make a direct link between the arrests and the murders in Germany, saying the inquiry is into the wider feud that led up to the killings.
The six victims in Germany died in a hail of bullets earlier this month outside a pizzeria run by Calabrians in Duisburg in northwest Germany. Experts believe the Calabrian mafia turns over nearly 36-billion euros a year, mainly from cocaine trafficking, putting it on a par – financially at least – with some of Italy’s largest publicly quoted companies.