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Thursday, 18 December, 1997, 08:29 GMT
Suspected mafia `godmother' arrested in Italy

Police in Italy say they have arrested a forty-two year old woman, Maria Rosaria Buccarella, suspected of being the leader of one of the country's most important mafia clans.

Police believe Ms Buccarella took over the Sacra Corona Unita, the mafia of the south-eastern Apulian region, after the capture of her brother.

In July, another woman was arrested on suspicion of leading the Sicilian mafia, the Cosa Nostra.

The BBC Rome correspondent says there's concern in Italy that the involvement of woman in the mafia is rising, following the killing or imprisonment of large numbers of its male leaders.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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