Group calls for probe into Jamaican raid

June 4, 2010 at 6:35 PM

KINGSTON, Jamaica, June 4 (UPI) -- Jamaica must hold an independent investigation of killings by police and soldiers during a drug operation in Kingston, a rights group said Friday.

Human Rights Watch said credible reports have said some of the 70 people killed during the operation were unarmed civilians. Witnesses said some of the victims were shot at point-blank range in what looked like summary executions.

Police and the military conducted a joint operation in the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood May 23 to arrest Christopher "Dudus" Coke, an alleged drug kingpin. The raid set off three days of violence that left 70 people dead, including three members of the security forces.

"An independent and impartial investigation is critical to determine whether any of the killings were in fact the result of excessive force or outright executions," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.

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