Curfew in west Kingston as gang war intensifies

February 16, 2022
Kevin Hibbert
Kevin Hibbert

The West Kingston police have imposed a 48-hour curfew in sections of Trench Town following a double murder in Arnett Gardens last Saturday.

A third man, Kevin Hibbert, 43, was reportedly shot and killed last night while he was playing a game of dominoes in Mexico, a tough section in the often volatile inner-city area.

A well-placed police source told THE STAR that Hibbert was killed by men from neighbouring Angola, a reprisal act for Saturday's double-homicide of 27-year-old mattress maker Diego Edwards and Carbal Thomas, 49.

The source also adds that men from Mexico and Zimbabwe, another gritty area, had threatened to draw blood after the death of Hibbert's son, Brandon. THE STAR also understands that the deadly gang war has accounted for more than five murders and a number of shootings since January. Sources have indicated that the fighting is stemming from the death of a man identified only as Danville, who was stabbed several times last November in Paradise Court.

The division's commander, Senior Superintendent Michael Phipps, told THE STAR that the curfew is part of the police's efforts to thwart further criminal activities. The police believe that Saturday's brazen gun attack, in which another man was shot in the left hand while he ran for safety, is just the start of things to come as rival gunmen from Zimbabwe and Angola appear determined to inflict mayhem and harm.

"We know that there is some amount of tension in the community between both sides and we have since brought the area under a 48-hour curfew, which started 6 p.m. today [Tuesday]. We have added resources in the area from both the JDF [Jamaica Defence Force] and JCF [Jamaica Constabulary Force] and this will continue until we bring back some semblance of normalcy to the community because this area remained fairly quiet from last year. When we saw some incidents, we brought it under control and now we are seeing some resurgence of that," Phipps said.

He has also urged residents to allow the law to take its course and desist from yielding to the temptation of 'jungle justice'.

"We have been doing some work in the area, carrying out some investigations and identifying some perpetrators and we have since today put out a number of persons who are wanted and who are persons of interest in our investigations," he said.

The police named Jazmar Wilson, aka 'Grants Pen', Shadane McKenzie, aka 'Philippines', Peter Cooper, aka 'Chu Chu' and another identified only as 'Nokie' as persons with whom they wish to speak. Police also say they believe that seven other men are playing an integral role in the mayhem.

"Once we are able to arrest them, I know we will be able to bring back some semblance of calm and peace into the community," Phipps said. One resident said that the situation is at a boiling point and no one is safe.

"A ghost town right now inna 'Jungle' (Arnett Gardens). The man dem a Zimbabwe say from inna January that once Brandon bury, a straight shot ago fire and dem no care who get it. And Angola man dem decide say dem nah back dung," the resident stated.

Police say that, as of February 12, there have been 14 murders in the division since January 1, four less when compared to the corresponding period last year.

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