World

Italian Mafia Goes To War With Migrants

REUTERS/Yara Nardi

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

The migrant crisis is allowing African gangs to set up shop on the Italian Mafia’s territory, which locals fear is a “war” in the making.

The Mediterranean island of Sicily has long been a hub for economic migrants from Africa who try to pursue a new life in Europe. It is also known to be run by the Mafia, which has kept immigrants out of Sicily’s largest city Palermo.

The migrant stream has become too much to handle for the Mafia. Immigration has risen 90 percent since January and certain communities have developed immigrant populations of 25 percent.

“Palermo is the Middle East in Europe,” Palermo Mayor Leoluca Orlando told The Daily Mail. “It’s a mosaic city and we are happy about that.”

Criminal gangs from Africa are taking advantage of the migrant crisis to sneak their members into Italy. The Mafia is now complaining that the police, which they used to control, are focusing all their attention on the mob while overlooking the African gangs.

The mafia has now “declared war” on the migrants. Police Commissioner Guido Longo said the mafia is engaging in “unprecedented aggression and bullying” toward migrants, which erupted when an innocent Gambian refugee was put in a coma after a drive-by shooting.

“This Mafia shooting was a tremendous mistake because it turned the city against them,” Orlando said. “The Mafia needs silence and darkness. It needs people to keep their mouths shut.”

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is now proposing more manpower on the African side of the Mediterranean to stop the migrant influx and avoid a disaster in Italy.

“Much has been done, but we must do much more, quickly, if we want to avert the worsening of a systemic crisis,” Renzi said in an open letter last week.

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