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Jamaica violence continues, death toll nears 50.

Summary: The death toll nears 50 in Kingston on Wednesday as security forces fought armed supporters of a fugitive alleged drug lord.

Gunfire resounded in parts of Jamaica's capital Kingston as security forces fought armed supporters of a fugitive alleged drug lord in a fourth day of violence that has killed nearly 50 people.

Soldiers and police were still hunting Christopher "Dudus" Coke, 42, a notorious suspected Jamaican drug don whose extradition is being sought by the United States on charges of cocaine trafficking and gun-running.

Streets in the capital of the Caribbean tourist island were virtually deserted, with very little traffic and most schools and many businesses staying closed. Soldiers and police patrolled in armored vehicles and SUVs.

Most of the dead were young men, suspected to be gang member supporters of Coke, who were killed when heavily armed security forces on Monday stormed the Tivoli Gardens slum that US prosecutors say served as a "garrison" of his supporters.

Bursts of gunfire could be heard coming on Wednesday from the Waltham Park neighborhood, north of Tivoli Gardens, and from Rockfort on the road to Kingston's international airport.

Jamaican Political Ombudsman Herro Blair said he had made a tally of 44 civilians killed in Tivoli Gardens after he was sent there by Prime Minister Bruce Golding on an inspection mission on Tuesday, along with Public Defender Earl Witter.

Independent Television News Limited 2010. All rights reserved.

Independent Television News Limited 2009. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Independent Television News Limited (ITN)
Date:May 29, 2010
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