Christopher "Dudus" Coke
Christopher “Dudus” Coke is accused of being a gang leader

Jamaican police have urged residents in parts of the capital Kingston to take down barricades set up to stop them from searching for an alleged druglord.

The government said last week it would extradite Christopher “Dudus” Coke to the US.

According to the police, criminal gangs have begun stockpiling weapons to prevent his arrest.

And his supporters have apparently blockaded the part of Kingston where he lives to stop him being arrested.

But some residents claim that the barricades are intended to protect their neighbourhood from police violence.

Police officials say they have no desire to engage in armed conflict, and will exercise restraint when they serve the arrest warrant.

Most wanted

Mr Coke, 41, is accused of being the leader of the notorious Shower Posse, which US authorities say operates an international drugs and guns network.

Protest in support of Christopher Coke
Some residents have protested in defence of Mr Coke

The gang has also been blamed for numerous murders in Jamaica and the US.

Mr Coke is thought to be hiding in Tivoli Gardens, one of Kingston’s poorest districts, which police say is controlled by his supporters.

The BBC’s Nick Davis in Kingston says they are believed to be heavily armed and ready to defend the man they call “the president”.

Thousands of residents have protested against the deicision to deport him.

Change of heart

Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding said earlier this week that he was prepared to send Mr Coke to the US to face charges of drug and gun trafficking.

The decision reversed nine months of opposition to his extradition.

Mr Golding had argued that the evidence against Mr Coke was obtained illegally by intercepting mobile telephone calls.

But he changed his mind in the face of growing public discontent, and questions about his possible ties to Mr Coke.

He apologised to the nation and admitted he had mishandled the case.

Tivoli Gardens is in Mr Golding’s constituency.

The US and UK have warned travellers about possible violence and disorder in Kingston because of the situation.

[Update was made via BBC News]

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