ROME – Italy will deploy 500 more soldiers on its streets to deal with violent crime after the slaying of six African immigrants sparked rioting in the Naples area, government officials said Tuesday.
Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa said the soldiers will be added to some 3,000 already deployed across Italy as part of anti-crime measures. Most will be sent to the Caserta area, near Naples, where last week the Africans were killed in a gangland-style shooting.
Police say the Naples-based Camorra crime syndicate might have engineered the slayings to punish the Africans for getting involved in drug trafficking, one of the Camorra's criminal activities.
Angered by the killings, immigrants rioted, smashing car windows and stoning police vehicles.
One of the alleged killers, a man on house arrest for a drug charge, was arrested on Monday. Police are looking for at least two others.
La Russa said the soldiers will be used to patrol streets and man checkpoints in the Caserta area as well as in other crime-ridden zones.
The measure approved at a Cabinet meeting adds more troops to those deployed last month on the streets of major cities and at sensitive sites to help free up police to investigate crimes.