News / Americas

Jamaica Unrest Death Toll Reaches 73

Jamaican police say 73 people have been killed since authorities launched an assault Sunday for an alleged drug lord wanted by the United States.

Authorities announced the increased death toll Thursday.

The outbreak of violence was triggered when the Jamaican government moved to extradite Christopher "Dudus" Coke.   He is wanted in the United States for alleged cocaine and arms trafficking.   

Coke remains at large and authorities say it is not clear whether he is still in Jamaica.     

The human rights group, Amnesty International, has called for a thorough investigation into the violence.   The group said that while authorities have a responsibility to maintain order, the extraordinary powers given to the Jamaican security forces could lead to human rights violations. 

Amnesty said that even during officially declared states of emergency, Jamaica is required under international law to guarantee the rights of everyone detained, including having their detention reviewed by an independent tribunal.   This week, authorities took 500 people into custody during the search for Coke.   A state of emergency remains in effect for parts of Kingston.   

Coke is the alleged leader of the "Shower Posse," named for the practice of showering rivals with bullets during the cocaine wars of the 1980s.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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