UNIBEN’S Black Axe: An Emerging Drug Gang in Italy

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Black Axe, a fraternity that was founded at the University of Benin in the 1970s, is on its way to becoming one of the leading drug gangs in Palermo, Italy.

According to The Guardian UK, prosecutors in the Sicilian capital of Palermo are warning that a new alliance between the mafia and “Nigerian criminal gangs moving in from Libya”, could herald a new era of organized crime.

“The neighbourhoods under mafia control have changed profoundly in recent years due to the growing presence of foreigners, especially Nigerians coming on boats,” Leonardo Agueci, Palermo’s Deputy Chief Prosecutor, was quoted to have said.

“Among them, are a small group of people who want to transfer their illegal trafficking, linked to prostitution and drug dealing, to Sicily. And the mafia was quite happy to integrate them into their criminal business.”

In Ballarò, a mafia stronghold market area in the historic center of the city, a whistle is traditionally used by Italian dealers working for Cosa Nostra, the Sicilian mafia, to attract customers, who are offered hashish, marijuana and cocaine.

The whistle was said to have been adopted by Nigerians in 2014, making a statement that a new criminal organization was in town.

“It is clear there is a subordinate relationship between Cosa Nostra and the Nigerian clans, with the former controlling the latter,” said Agueci, adding that Nigerians were not allowed to use guns but just machetes and axes.

“If a Nigerian boss tried to rebel against Cosa Nostra, he would probably end up incaprettato [tied up and killed] in the countryside.”

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