A disgruntled soldier is being blamed for a shooting spree at a military barracks on Cape Verde in which 11 people died, including three civilians, two of whom were Spanish engineers engaged in repairs. The incident took place at Monte Tchota barracks which is north of Praia on Santiago, the largest island of the archipelago. The barracks is said to protect a communications hub.
The bodies were reportedly found by a policeman at midday local time. Police later found eight Kalashnikovs plus ammunition in an abandoned car. A suspect named in local media as "Antany Silva" is thought to be still missing. In a statement, the government of the former Portuguese colony said the incident was not connected with a coup nor the drugs trade. Government spokesman Paulo Rocha told local paper Espresso das Ilhas that the killings were carried out for "personal reasons."
In recent years there have been a number of shootings linked to South American cartels attempting to smuggle drugs into Europe via the tiny chain of 10 islands, which lies 600km (370 miles) west of the coast of Senegal in Africa and is home to some half a million people. Last week 280 kg of cocaine was seized from a yacht registered in Brazil as it was being transferred to one with a US flag and six people were arrested.
There have been two attacks on public figures which have been linked to the drugs trade. In one of them the 56-year-old mother of the country's anti-drugs investigator Katia Tavares was shot dead at home in Praia. The son of then-Prime Minister Jose Maria Neves was shot and injured in another shooting several months later.
A new government elected in March and which took office last Friday (22 April) promised a zero tolerance approach to drugs crime. The Movement for Democracy (MpD) had been out of power for 15 years.