Tuesday 20 February 2018

Foreigners targeted in Italy drive-by shooting

The shootings came days after the killing of an 18-year-old Nigerian.

Paramedics at the scene (Guido Picchio/ANSA via AP)
Paramedics at the scene (Guido Picchio/ANSA via AP)

By Colleen Barry, Associated Press

A lone Italian gunman has wounded six African immigrants in a two-hour drive-by shooting spree in the city of Macerata.

The shooting suspect was identified as Luca Traini, a 28-year-old Italian with no previous record.

A video posted by the newspaper il Resto di Carlino showed a man with an Italian flag draped over his shoulders being arrested by armed Carabinieri officers in the city centre, near where he apparently fled his car on foot. Italian news reports said the man did a fascist salute as he was arrested, but no salute was visible in the video.

The shooting spree came days after the killing of 18-year-old Nigerian Pamela Mastropietro and amid a heated electoral campaign in Italy where anti-foreigner sentiment has become a key theme as the country continues to struggle with migrant arrivals.

The head of the anti-migrant Northern League, Matteo Salvini, has capitalised on the killing in campaign appearances, and is pledging to deport 150,000 migrants in his first year in office if his party wins control of parliament and he is named premier.

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Police at the scene in Macerata, Italy

Macerata mayor Romano Carancini confirmed that six foreigners, all black, were wounded in the shooting spree, one with life-threatening injuries.

“They were all of colour, this is obviously a grave fact. As was grave what happened to Pamela. The closeness of the two events makes you imagine there could be a connection,” he said.

The teenager’s dismembered remains were found on Wednesday in two suitcases two days after she walked away from a drug rehab community. A judge on Saturday confirmed the arrest of the main suspect, identified as 29-year-old Innocent Oseghale.

The Italian news agency ANSA reported that the black car used in Saturday’s shooting spree had been seen in the area where the woman’s body was found and also near where the suspect lived. A video posted by il Resto di Carlino showed what appeared to be a body on the ground on a shopping street.

Police had warned residents to stay inside while the shootings were ongoing. Authorities halted public transport and said students must kept inside schools, which are open on Saturdays.

Italians vote in a general election on March 4 to elect a new government.

Mr Salvini’s League, which dropped the “northern” from its name in a bid for a national following, has joined a centre-right coalition with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and Giorgia Meloni’s much smaller Brothers of Italy. They are running against Matteo Renzi’s much-splintered Democratic Party and the populist 5-Star Movement.

Press Association

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