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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 03:37 GMT 04:37 UK
Security tight at Italy funerals
Coffin of Marco Pergola - 23/08/2007
Police fear further killings in the 'Ndrangheta feud
Funerals for five of the six Italians killed in Germany last week in what has been described as a Mafia vendetta have been held in southern Italy.

The funerals were held amid tight security and the usual processions to the cemetery were banned.

Police in the Calabria region feared that members of a local crime clan might be planning revenge killings.

The bullet-riddled bodies of the victims were found near a pizza parlour in the German city of Duisburg.

Italian police are convinced that the murders were a settling of accounts between rival families belonging to a powerful criminal organisation called 'Ndrangheta, which operates from headquarters in southern Italy.

Police say the 'Ndrangheta engages in money laundering, protection rackets and drug trafficking all over Europe, but that it is controlled by a small group of families all living in a remote mountainous area in the toe of Italy.

Killed on birthday

Family members threw red roses and applauded as the caskets containing the bodies of brothers Francesco and Marco Pergola were carried from a church in their home village of Siderno, near San Luca.

The caskets were quickly driven to a local ceremony instead of being carried in the traditional procession through the village streets.

Police allowed the funerals to be public but banned the processions on the grounds of public order.

Three more victims of the killings - Sebastiano Strangio, Marco Marmo and Francesco Giorgi - were later buried in the village of San Luca amid similar security arrangements.

The sixth victim, Tommaso Venturi, whose 18th birthday was being celebrated at the pizza parlour, lived in Germany and will be buried there.

A senior police officer said the killings might continue as families which have been carrying on a deadly vendetta for more than a decade vowed to seek revenge for the murders.

No arrests have yet been made in connection with the killings either in Germany or in Italy.




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