By Humphrey Carter

PALMA
THERE are at least 600 young members of Palma's ten Latin gangs according to the Local Police which has a special unit of just 23 members monitoring their activities and behaviour.

A year ago, months before a teenager immigrant from Equatorial Guinea was stabbed to death in a suspected gang fueled in the centre of the city, the Local Police set up a unit to specifically deal with Palma's growing gang culture while increasing citizen safety and security.

Twelve months down the road, the Local Police have identified ten Latin gangs and at least 600 members, many of which are teenage South Americans although the G.A. gang is mostly made up of West Africans.

The city's largest gang is the Ñetas which has over 60 members and is active world wide.
However, the Latin Kings, Bling Bling, G.A., Perroskis, Pit Bulls, Azarosos, L.S., Utan Klan, Pitukis and the Piwis are all present on the streets of Palma and all have international connections and affiliations. Palma Local Police commissioner, Nicolas Herrero, said yesterday the rivalry between the gangs is mainly personal and ruled out that there is any gang warfare being waged. However, the GAP special prevention unit is keeping a close eye on the situation with officers routinely on patrol in areas where the gangs congregate such as Gomila, S'Arenal and a number of squares in Palma. The stabbing of the West African immigrant near the Avenidas caused a great deal of concern in Palma and for the few weeks immediately after the incident both Local and National Police forces stepped up their presence in Palma, especially in conflictive areas at night, for fears of reprisals. It appears, however, that tensions have died down.

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