Italian authorities investigating a series of mafia shootings involving a new generation of young mobsters in Naples have discovered a makeshift firing range, where they believe teenage hitmen learned their craft.
Carabinieri police said satellite dishes served as targets for Camorra mafia gunmen, some thought to be as young as 16, who used a rooftop terrace to practise, in the central Borgo Sant'Antonio Abate, an historic working-class district dating back to the 15th century.
"Instead of playing shooting video games, these young Camorra 'soldiers' climbed to the roofs of city centre houses to fire real weapons," Carabinieri police said.
Hidden in the building's courtyard detectives found a 9mm gun with the serial number scratched off, and ammunition for pistols and shotguns. Scattered on the rooftop were dozens of empty shell casings, authorities said, describing the finding as "disturbing".
The premises were searched during an investigation after a turf war recently erupted in the area, which has seen the emergence of a generation of very young mafiosi.
Last week, 19-year-old alleged mobster Emanuele Sibillo was killed with a shot in the back in the neighbouring Forcella district. The teenager was described in the local press as a "baby boss", for his leading role in a local camorra clan.
He had first come to police attention two years ago, when officers raiding a mob summit found the then 17-year-old seating at the same table with senior gangsters, according to Il Mattino newspaper.
Days before he was shot, Sibillo, who came from a family with known ties to camorra clans, had narrowly escaped arrest, as he was one of dozens of alleged criminals sought in a large anti-mafia operation in which more than 60 people were eventually rounded up.
Separately in June, three teens aged between 16 and 17 were injured in a shootout in the same Forcella district. Two of them already had a long criminal record.
Investigators believe the new generation of mobsters is the result of power vacuums created by a wave of arrests that hit senior members of established clans.
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