HAGUE: Police arrested dozens of suspected mobsters in Europe & South America today in a huge international swoop targeting Italy’s notorious ‘Ndrangheta mafia clan.
Nearly 90 people including high-ranking members of the powerful organised crime syndicate accused of drug trafficking and money laundering were arrested in coordinated raids in six countries, EU justice agency Eurojust said.
The “unprecedented” crackdown on the group based in Calabria, southern Italy, came just a day after Italian police arrested the new boss of the separate Sicilian mafia.
Hundreds of police took part in Wednesday’s operation, seizing four tonnes of cocaine, 120 kilos of ecstasy and two million euros (dollars) in cash across Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Suriname.
“Today, we send a clear message to organized crime groups across Europe,” Filippo Spiezia, vice president of the EU’s judicial agency Eurojust, told reporters in The Hague.
“They are not the only ones able to operate across borders; so are Europe’s judiciary and law enforcement communities.”
He said the “unprecedented and extraordinary result”, the fruit of a two-year operation, targeted “dangerous members of the ‘Ndrangheta family deeply involved in drug trafficking and money laundering”.
The ‘Ndrangheta – which derives its meaning from the Greek word for heroism — is made up of numerous village and family-based clans in Calabria, the rural, mountainous and under-developed “toe” of Italy’s boot.
Despite intense police attention and frequent arrests, the organization has continued to extend its reach.
It has surpassed Sicily’s Cosa Nostra and the Naples-based Camorra in influence thanks to control of the cocaine trade and is the sole mafia organization to operate on all continents, according to anti-mafia prosecutors.
Officials hailed Wednesday’s operation — dubbed “Operation Pollina” — as a serious blow to the group.
In total 41 people were arrested in Italy, 21 in Germany, 14 in Belgium, five in the Netherlands and two in Luxembourg, with operations still underway, Eurojust said.
Italian police said the sweep targeted the ‘Ndrangheta and its “projections across South America”.
Italian anti-mafia prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho said the operations would affect the ‘Ndrangheta’s drug trafficking operations around the world, including Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil.
NAB arrests four Revenue officials for selling govt land
QUETTA: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Balochistan on Tuesday arrested four officials of Provincial Revenue Department including Ex Tehseeldars, Naib Tehseeldar and Patwari for selling government land in Gwadar.
According to a statement, the accused included Ex-Tehseeldars Gwadar Mohammad Jan Baloch, Mohammad Jan Jamaldini, Naib Tehsildar Agha Zafar Hussain and Abdul Hafeez Patwari in connivance with other revenue officers and private persons tempered revenue record and sold the land causing huge loss to the national exchequer.
Taking action on evidences surfaced during the probe into the matter, DG NAB Balochistan Mohammad Abid Javed issued arrest warrants of the accused.
They were held and shifted to NAB Balochistan office.
Further probe was underway.
Turkey issues warrants for soldiers over FETO links
ISTANBUL: Turkey is seeking over 50 serving soldiers across the nation for their suspected links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group behind the 2016 defeated coup, judicial sources said on Tuesday.
Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued the warrants for 53 active-duty soldiers, who are accused of communicating with FETO members through pay phones and land phones, as part of a probe into FETO presence in Turkish Armed Forces.
Police launched simultaneous operations in 15 provinces, including Istanbul, for the suspects working for the gendarmerie branch of Turkish Armed Forces, as well as Land, Air and Naval Forces Command.
Police hunt for the suspects is ongoing across the country.
According to the Turkish government, FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Victims of Church sex abuse go global with fight for justice
PARIS: After years of struggling alone or finding support in national groups, survivors of sex abuse by priests have formed a new international alliance to pressure the Catholic Church to face up to its crimes.
The group, called Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA), brings together activists from dozens of countries on several continents, and will be mobilised in Rome this week when Pope Francis hosts a hotly awaited summit on tackling the wave of child sex abuse scandals shaking the Catholic Church.
“It’s a momentous and a historic movement… to bring a global and unified voice,” one of its co-founders, Peter Saunders, told media.
“This is the first truly global initiative.”
Saunders’ personal story is among countless others suffered by people who grouped together to form ECA last June, including survivors from Chile, Poland, Switzerland, France, Italy, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries.
“I was abused at seven years old by a family member. I was also sexually abused by two Jesuit priests at my secondary school at about 12 years of age,” he said.
The same priest targeted his brother Michael at the same school six years before him, and died aged 55 after a lifelong battle with drug and alcohol abuse.
“I think the Church has been resisting change for many, many years and I think at long last the Church is beginning to bow to the pressure put on by survivors, by our media colleagues around the world, and by public opinion,” he added.
The group’s objectives include forcing the Church to take a “zero tolerance” approach to paedophilia, working to overturn the statute of limitations on abuse cases, and supporting victims in areas where speaking out remains difficult, such as in various African and Asian countries.