Castel Volturno massacre

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Castel Volturno massacre
LocationBaia Verde, a suburb of the Castel Volturno municipality in the province of Caserta
Date18 September 2008
21:00 - 21:30 approximately
TargetOwner of an arcade, six drug traffickers
Attack type
Massacre, mass shooting
Deaths7 killed, 1 injured
PerpetratorsGangsters from the Casalesi clan. It was performed by Alfonso Cesarano, Alessandro Cirillo and Oreste Spagnuolo, with the suspected involvement of Francesco Cirillo, Emilio Di Caterino and Giovanni Letizia, on the orders of Giuseppe Setola.
MotiveControl of the drug market and real estate

The Castel Volturno massacre (Italian: Strage di Castel Volturno or Strage di San Gennaro) is the name given by the Italian press to a mass shooting perpetrated by the Casalesi clan that caused the deaths of seven people on 18 September 2008. The massacre outside the Ob Ob Exotic Fashion tailor shop on the Via Domitiana was widely characterized as part of a growing conflict between the native Camorra and the immigrant African drug gangs. Murdered were Antonio Celiento, the owner of an arcade next to Baia Verde, and six African immigrants:[1] Samuel Kwaku, 26 (Togo); Alaj Ababa (Togo); Francis Antwi, 31 (Ghana); Eric Affum Yeboah, 25 (Ghana); Alex Geemes, 28 (Liberia) and Cristopher Adams, 28 (Liberia). Joseph Ayimbora (Ghana), 34, survived by feigning death; he later helped identify the killers. None of the African victims were involved in criminal activities and were chosen at random.[citation needed]

The murders sparked violent protests from Castel Volturno's immigrant community the following day,[2] which culminated in the signing of measures launched by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense on combating organized crime and illegal immigration to Caserta.[3]

The Africans' killers were identified as Alfonso Cesarano, Alessandro Cirillo and Oreste Spagnuolo. A further three people, Francesco Cirillo, Emilio Di Caterino and Giovanni Letizia, have been suspected of involvement in the murders, which were ordered by Giuseppe Setola, affiliated with the Casalesi clan.[4]


On 22 September 2008, the first arrest was made in connection with the massacre. Alfonso Cesarano, a Casalesi triggerman, was found in his parents' home in Baia Verde, where he was under house arrest on drug charges next to the arcade where the first victim, Celiento, had been killed.[5]

The Italian government deployed 400 troops into the area.[6] A huge anti-Camorra operation conducted in that same month by the Carabinieri dealt a devastating blow on the Casalesi clan, resulting in the arrests of 107 people including prominent members of the association, some of whom were on the list of 30 most wanted fugitives in Italy. Among those arrested were Alessandro Cirillo and Oreste Spagnuolo, the main co-ordinators of the attack.[7] On January 14, 2009, Setola was finally arrested in Mignano Monte Lungo after a week on the run. During this period, he was included in the list of 30 most dangerous fugitives in Italy and was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia after being convicted on charges of ordering several killings and massacres, including that at Castel Volturno.[8][9]


In 2011, the court in Santa Maria Capua Vetere (Caserta) sentenced Giuseppe Setola, Davide Granato, Alessandro Cirillo, Giovanni Letizia to life imprisonment and Antonio Alluce to 23 years. The Court recognized the existence of aggravating circumstances such as racial hatred and terrorist purposes.[10][11]


  1. ^ (in Italian)Casalesi, è mattanza: 7 morti. I nomi delle vittime. Minniti e Picierno: servono azioni urgenti contro i clan - casertace, September 18, 2008
  2. ^ Strage di camorra, immigrati in rivolta Archived 2008-11-04 at the Wayback Machine - La Stampa, September 19, 2008
  3. ^ Camorra, arrivano 500 soldati. Stretta sull'immigrazione - La Repubblica, February 28, 2009
  4. ^ "Immigrants Riot in Italy After Six Killed". Javno. Archived from the original on 2009-04-14. Retrieved 2009-03-15.
  5. ^ (in Italian)Strage di Castel Volturno: Arrestato un sospetto - La Repubblica, September 22, 2008
  6. ^ Man arrested for Italian shooting - BBC news, September 22, 2008
  7. ^ (in Italian) Castelvolturno: arrestati presunti killer. Operazione anti Casalesi, 107 arresti - Tg5, February 28, 2009
  8. ^ (in Italian) Camorra, arrestato il boss Setola. Ai carabinieri: "Avete vinto voi", Corriere della sera, January 14, 2009
  9. ^ Mafia boss Giuseppe Setola who escaped through sewer is caught, Times Online, January 14, 2009
  10. ^ (in Italian) Camorra: strage Castelvolturno, 4 ergastoli Archived 2011-07-21 at the Wayback Machine, Ansa, April 14, 2011
  11. ^ "Italian mafia members sentenced to life in prison"[permanent dead link], France 24, April 15, 2011

External links[edit]

Sari Gilbert (October 15, 2008). "Racial violence comes to Italy". Wanted in Rome. Archived from the original on 1 December 2010. Retrieved 25 June 2010.