Support our mission

NAPLES, Italy — Just hours after Italian politicians publicly began a debate Monday of sending in the Italian army to quell the increasing violence plaguing Naples, another victim fell dead in a suspected mob killing.

It was the fourth killing in two days.

“The army idea is no longer taboo because something must be done to ease the insecurity and fear felt by many of the locals,” said Justice Minister Clemente Mastella, whose comments led media reports Monday evening.

Martial law, as it were, might not be such a bad idea, Pozzuoli resident Annamaria Spinosa said in an interview.

“Bringing in the army would force law and order in the streets so that the police and carabinieri could do their jobs, fighting against the Camorra and investigating crimes,” Spinosa said. “We can’t live like this anymore, all the crime and killing.”

That’s the premise: Soldiers would patrol the streets in an effort to keep crime at bay, freeing law enforcement to crack down on crimes. Politicians, too, mentioned using soldiers to help with the garbage crisis, but not as garbage collectors.

Several weeks ago, for example, angry mobs burning away the rubbish that spilled out of overfilled trash bins attacked police who attempted to protect firefighters dousing the flames. There are seven landfills in the Campania region, and they all are full.

Italy has no plans to ask for U.S. military help, a defense ministry official said. Naples is home to more than 2,600 active-duty U.S. personnel.

Of the 66 killings so far this year in the Naples area, 49 are suspected to be linked to the Camorra, according to Italian media reports.

Two of this week’s four killings are said to be mob-related. A third centers on jilted teenage lovers. The fourth involves a tobacco store owner who shot at two suspected thieves, killing one.

“I don’t feel safe. I’m [living] all by myself, but I’m not sure having the Italian army would be any better,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Shalonda Singleton, 33, a single woman living in the Neapolitan suburb of Casal di Principe. “I mean, what would they do? How would they stop somebody from coming in your house?” she said, citing her biggest fear of living here.

Local magistrates on Monday called for a military solution similar to action taken in Sicily from 1992 to 1998 when 150,000 soldiers were sent to the southern island to help deal with a Mafia emergency, ANSA reported.

Naples Mayor Rosa Russo Iervolino, said on RAI 1 news broadcast that the local police, topping just more than 13,000, can’t handle the wave of crime — from the mob killings and robberies, to burglaries, car jackings, pickpockets and locals assaulting police over the dire trash crisis.

“We are doing our best … but we cannot be forgotten,” she said, appealing to the federal government for military intervention.

Stripes in 7

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up