At least 26 civilians were killed in the Jamaican capital of Kingston as police stormed a drug gangster’s stronghold and violence spread to outlying regions, local media reported on Tuesday.
The deaths confirmed by the Jamaica Constabulary Force would bring to 30 the number of people, including three members of the security forces, killed since clashes began over the weekend.
Another 25 people have been injured and more than 200 arrested.
The clashes broke out when military and police officials attempted to arrest accused drug kingpin Christopher “Dudus” Coke, wanted in the U.S. on criminal charges. He is believed to be hiding in the Tivoli Gardens neighbourhood of the capital, where the clashes have centred.
Explosions were heard near the quarter in the capital, and heavy clouds of smoke rose from the area late Monday, according to local media reports.
Violence initially broke out on Sunday after Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding vowed to extradite Coke to the United States.
Police reportedly came under fire in parts of West Kingston on Sunday, and a police station was set ablaze after being abandoned by besieged officers who had run out of ammunition.
In response, Mr. Golding declared a month-long state of emergency in parts of the capital and outlying St. Andrew, media reports from the Caribbean island said.