Sat | Sep 19, 2020

Fear grips Denham Town residents as ZOSO enters final phase

Published:Monday | March 19, 2018 | 12:00 AM
A soldier patrols Pink Lane in Denham Town. Two men were killed in the ZOSO, at Pink Lane and Oxford Street, on Sunday morning.

If it were up to 28-year-old Sarah Singer (not her real name), the zone of special operations (ZOSO) in Denham Town would still be in week one, a time when the security forces saturated, seemingly, every crevice and corner of the West Kingston community.

Five months have passed since Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared the area the second ZOSO on October 17 last year, citing ongoing gang warfare, rampant criminality, escalating violence, murder and a threat to rule of law as the rationale.

With the ZOSO now into its third and final stage, the 'build' phase, where members of the security forces have started to pull out of the community, there has been a flare-up of gang violence, with three persons killed since Wednesday night, triggering fear among residents once more.

"I wish it (ZOSO) could start all over - the police, soldiers, curfew - everything that was keeping the peace for the past few months," Singer exclaimed.

"Imagine, them don't even gone fully and the careless boy them start back with the killings. Two them slap weh Sunday morning and you can bet yuh last dollar that is just the start of it. We back to square one," she added.

On Sunday morning, 25-year-old Horace Anderson was fatally shot on Pink Lane, while Dean-AndrÈ Jack, also 25, was killed along Oxford Street.

This, after 21-year-old Dillan Martin of Golden Heights, Kingston 14, was shot multiple times in the head on Wednesday night.

He was pronounced dead at hospital.

A second man who was shot in his right foot was admitted in stable condition.

With the exception of Singer, residents declined to speak, many opting either to turn their back or walk away when quizzed about the recent flare-up.

Still, one male who stood along Pink Lane, a few metres from the scene of Anderson's death, issued a brief, ominous warning when approached.

"We probably talk now and as unno drive off, we dead," he declared.

As The Gleaner toured the community, just a single security checkpoint was seen at the intersection of West Street and Beeston Street.

A handful of soldiers were also stationed along Pink Lane.