Mafia boss and two innocent bystanders killed in ambush

The assassination of a mafia boss and two innocent bystanders in broad daylight in Puglia has reopened old wounds in the region.

Mafia boss and two innocent bystanders killed in ambush
File photo: chiccododiFC/Depositphotos

Police have been called to the scene of the crime where reportedly multiple unidentified gunmen have shot and killed four people. At least one further person is injured. The incident occurred on Road 272 near the train station of San Marco in Lamis. 

Police are not excluding that the killings are linked to two murders in the nearby area of Apricena in June this year. 

Il Fatto Quotidiano cited unnamed sources who say investigators believe the ambush could be revenge for an earlier killing this year, part of a mafia war between rival clans that has claimed 15 lives so far in 2017. 

The victims were traveling in a Wolkswagen that was accosted by another car. Four or five gunmen opened fire on the Wolkswagen, according to Repubblica, Italy's largest daily.

Repubblica adds that the ambush took the life of clan leader Mario Luciano Romito, 50. Romito's driver and brother-in-law Matteo de Palma was also killed, as were two unfortunate innocent bystanders – brothers Luigi and Aurelio Luciani. 

The mayor of San Marco in Lamis, Michele Merla, condemned the senseless violence. “The community mourns two honest workers, innocent victims of an evil, outrageous war, that is not afraid of anything or anyone,” said Merla, according to Foggia Today, a regional newspaper.

Merla called the violent crime in the region “a national emergency” and appealed to the Ministry of Interior Affairs for extra support. 

One of the two Luciani brothers tried to escape through a field but was chased and killed by the assassin, according to la Stampa. The killer has not been caught. 

La Stampa reports that the killings are part of an ongoing conflict between two warring families: the Romito and the Libergolis clans.

READ MORE: Fugitive mafia boss busted at Tuscany balcony barbecue



 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

Italian police on Saturday arrested a mafia member suspected of killing two alleged Chinese prostitutes and a Colombian sex worker in Rome, local media reported.

 Italian police arrest mafia member after three women killed in Rome

The bodies of the two Chinese women were discovered in a residential building in the upmarket Prati district on Thursday morning, while the body of the South American was found in an apartment in the same neighbourhood an hour later.

All three victims were stabbed, according to Italian media reports.

According to the Corriere della Sera newspaper, footage from surveillance cameras allowed police to identify 51-year-old Giandavide De Pau, who had been prosecuted in the past for drug trafficking and sexual assault.

The suspect is reportedly a member of a mafia clan headed by Michele Senese, who is currently serving a life sentence. De Pau is believed to have been one of Senese’s closest collaborators, acting as his personal driver and handyman.

In 2008 and 2011, the suspect had also spent time in a psychiatric hospital.

It is unknown whether the suspected killer was carrying out a mafia hit or acting alone, possibly under the influence of drugs, which were found at the home of some family members where he is believed to have sought refuge after the police manhunt got underway, Corriere della Sera reported.

Several newspapers had warned of a possible “serial killer” in the Italian capital.

The body of one of the Chinese victims was spotted by a neighbour where it lay, naked on a landing. The woman, believed to be in her 40s, had suffered head and stomach injuries, the newspaper said.

When police entered her apartment, they found the body of the second Chinese woman.

Nobody in the building appeared to have heard the murders take place, according to residents.

“Everybody knew there was a house of ill repute here, I’d see people arriving at 2:00 am, 3:00 am,” a woman who lived in the building told reporters.

The body of the Colombian, who was 65, was found by a friend, Corriere della Sera said.