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Toll in Jamaica violence rises to 73

world Updated: May 28, 2010 08:13 IST

IANS
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The official number of fatalities in unrest in Jamaica since the weekend rose to 73 Thursday, amid concerns about the use of force by police.

Accused drug kingpin Christopher "Dudus" Coke is not among those killed, Information Minister Daryl Vaz said. Around 400 people have been arrested, the authorities said.

Police have so far failed to capture Coke, who is wanted in the United States on criminal charges. He is believed to be hiding in the Tivoli Gardens neighbourhood, his stronghold in the capital, where the clashes have centred. However, the search for Coke is now nationwide.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed Thursday its "deep concern about the wave of violence" in Jamaica.

"The commission deeply regrets the deaths that have occurred in this context, and urgently calls on the state of Jamaica to conduct a diligent, effective, and impartial investigation of these events," the IACHR said in a statement.

"The legitimate use of public force implies, among other factors, that it should be both necessary and proportional to the legitimate end being sought," the document stressed.

The commission further urged Jamaican authorities "to adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the right to life, integrity, and security of all persons."

The violence broke out Sunday after Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding vowed to extradite Coke to the United States. In response to the resulting violence, Golding declared a month-long state of emergency in parts of the capital and outlying St Andrew.

Thursday, journalists were allowed into portions of Tivoli Gardens for the first time since the violence erupted. Jamaican media reported that funeral homes were overwhelmed with dead bodies, and that one of them had even rented a refrigerated vehicle to store corpses in it.

According to eyewitnesses, the situation in central Kingston started to calm down slightly on Wednesday.