Four arrests in German mafia slayings

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Italian authorities say the mobster suspected of pulling the trigger in the killing of six Italians in the German city of Duisburg in August has managed to escape a joint Italian-German police swoop.


18th December 2007

 Police in the southern city of Reggio Calabria said Giovanni Strangio, 29, was not among those nabbed in the morning raids, but that four alleged members of his Calabrian mafia, or 'Ndrangheta, crime family have been arrested.

"It's important that people realize that the 'Ndrangheta is not a local or even regional phenomenon, but a European one," Calabria's top anti-mafia official told news television station, SKYTG24.

Two of the suspects, Domenico Nirta, 24, and Domenico Pizzata, 40, were picked up in the Calabrian town of San Luca, long considered by authorities as a hot bed of 'Ndrangheta activity.

Meanwhile German police, tipped off by their Italian colleagues arrested Antonio Richichi, 21, and Luca Liotino, 35, in the Cologne and Oberhausen areas of the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where Duisburg is located.

All four stand accused of murder, trading in weapons and membership of a mafia-like criminal organization.

"With these arrests the offensive against the 'Ndrangheta enters its most acute phase. More results will be achieved and Strangio will eventually be caught," Italian Interior Minister Giuliano Amato was quoted as saying by the ANSA newsagency.

In Germany's worst mafia-style killing, six people were gunned down late on August 14 in Duisburg in what was believed to have been a settling of scores between two 'Ndrangheta clans, the Nirta- Strangio and the Pelle-Vottari-Romeo.

The victims were all members of the Pelle-Romeo family from San Luca, police in Rome said. The killers reportedly came from the Strangio-Nirta clan. Both families have been involved in a long- running dispute.

One of the Duisburg victims was a chief suspect in the December 2006 murder of Maria Strangio, the wife of the suspected leader of the Strangio-Nirta clan and cousin of Giovanni Strangio.

Last week, German and Italian national police set up a joint task force against mafia-style organized crime.


Subject: German news


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