Target of Duisburg Italian massacre identified

Fri, 08/17/2007 - 09:53

Investigators believe they have identified the target of Wednesday morning's gangland slaying of six people in Duisburg, Germany.

Police are convinced that the execution-style killings were linked to the so-called San Luca feud within the Calabria crime syndicate 'Ndrangheta involving the Nitra-Strangio family.

Among the victims of Wednesday's massacre, investigators told the press, was Marco Marmo, 25, a suspect in the murder last Christmas of Maria Strangio, wife of clan leader Giovanni Nitra, who escaped unharmed from the attack which left his wife dead.

What remains unclear is why the other five people fell victim to this apparent revenge killing outside the restaurant Da Bruno.

The six has been in the restaurant to celebrate the 18th birthday of one of the victims, Tommaso Venturi.

The other victims were Francesco Giorgi, who would have turned 18 later this month, brothers Francesco and Marco Pergola, 22 and 20 years of age respectively, and Sebastiano Strangio, 39.

Marmo arrived in the Germany city no earlier than Sunday, while the others had been there for several days.

The feud began in February 1991 over a dispute about throwing firecrackers during the carnival celebrations in the Calabrian town of San Luca.

Within hours two members of the Nitra-Strangio family were killed and two others injured.

This was followed by six tit-for-tat revenge killings up until 2000, when an apparent truce was struck.

This truce was broken with the Christmas attack on Giovanni Nitra and the murder of his wife which rekindled the feud and was followed by five murders and six attempted murders.

The last took place August 3 when Antonio Giorgi was shot dead on his property in Calabria.

According to a 2006 report from Italy's national crime bureau DIA, 'Ndrangheta is one of the most powerful criminal organizations in Italy and is considered to be even more ruthless than Sicily's Cosa Nostra and the Camorra in the Naples region.

It holds a virtual monopoly on drug trafficking in Europe, especially for cocaine.

Its name derives from the Greek word andragathía which stands for heroism and virtue. The syndicate is considered by some experts to be stronger than its Sicilian counterpart because the families involved are fewer and closer knit.