Eight held over girl's shooting
Published 13/01/2013 | 05:40
Eight suspects have been arrested over the fatal shooting of an eight-year-old British girl on holiday in Jamaica.
Imani Green was killed when a gunman opened fire at her cousin's shop in the rural village of Duncans on Friday.
Three of her relatives are recovering in hospital after they were wounded in the hail of bullets. Police believe the killing could have been a revenge attack by gangsters on the Caribbean island.
Imani, who suffered from the blood condition sickle cell anaemia, is not believed to have been the target.
Deputy Superintendent Steve Brown, from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, said eight suspects were being questioned. He has dismissed suggestions linking the shooting to gang warfare.
"Over the last 24 hours there have been some developments where the police have taken eight persons into custody and we're confident we will make a breakthrough on this one very soon," he told the BBC.
"We've heard about gang warfare but we find it a bit difficult to believe because where the incident took place it is a sleepy community, nothing happens there. This is just an isolated incident but it could well link to a number of things and we are looking at all possibilities and following all the leads that we are getting."
Imani, from Balham in south London, was shot twice in Friday's attack - once in the head and once in the shoulder. She had been given extended leave from Fircroft Primary School in Tooting to visit Jamaica and take advantage of the warmer climate. She was attending a local primary school while on the island and had been due to return to the UK on January 25.
Her grandmother Sandra Fisher said she found Imani lying in a "pool of blood" after she asked to visit the grocery shop in the quiet Red Dirt district of Duncans in Trelawny parish.
Anne Wilson, headteacher at Fircroft Primary School, said Imani "coped very well" with her condition which forced her to stay indoors at playtime to avoid getting cold. The school granted her permission to spend time in Jamaica because the warmth was known to be better for her health. "We felt it was in Imani's best interest to be there rather than here at this time," Mrs Wilson told Sky News. A special assembly was held on Monday morning at the school where a prayer was read for the little girl and her family. Staff and children are now being offered counselling. "Today and for the next few days and weeks it's going to be difficult for them but we're here to support them," Mrs Wilson added.