Gunmen raze eighth house in Kingston

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Several sobbing women watched helplessly as gunmen struck again Wednesday and fire-bombed another house in the volatile east Kingston community of Rockfort.

This was the eighth house razed by rival gun gangs in the area since Monday.

Despite the deployment of heavily-armed members of the security forces to the area, gunmen continue to use the hilly terrain to their advantage, and sneaked down to Barnes Road where they threw a bomb over the back fence of premises at 27 Rushden Road, a seven-bedroom house which was occupied by Serita Hamilton, a 44-year-old mother of two.

The incident occurred about 45 minutes after Miss Hamilton had left home to pay utility bills in downtown Kingston.

“I was in the bank paying some bills when a neighbour called for me to come home now, because gunmen fire-bombed the house,” said Miss Hamilton, who flung herself to the hot asphalt and wept aloud.

She said that all her clothing, furniture and goods she bought to sell for Christmas went up in smoke.

It was an emotional scene as a group of women standing about three feet away from the burnt house burst into tears and shouted, “help, help, we caan tek it no more!”

Not far away was a petite woman in her early 30s who, with tears welling up in her eyes, pointed to her young son in his school uniform and whispered, “me just want to move out, that is all me want.”

People are leaving the community in droves and those who have nowhere to go told The Gleaner that since the flare up began on September 23 they have not had a good night’s rest. Close to a dozen persons have been murdered since then and more than a dozen others shot and injured.

Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas told The Gleaner yesterday that he has been in discussion with the Jamaica Defence Force Chief of Staff, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin. “We have already put in place most of the strategies that we have discussed, but we are monitoring the situation and will continue to implement new measures to address the situation,” he said. Commissioner Thomas is expected to meet with the Member of Parliament Philip Paulwell and members of the community early next week.

In the meantime, the police confirmed that east Kingston businessman Danhai Williams, influential area leaders Tony ‘Tego’ Brown, George ‘Binero’ Flash and another area leader identified as ‘Mandez’ were still behind bars at one of Kingston’s maximum security penal facility.

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