Jamaican forces defend deadly drug raids in Kingston

Soldiers on the streets of Kingston Soldiers have been deployed across the country in an effort to restore calm

Jamaican security forces have defended their actions following a four-day anti-drugs offensive in the capital, Kingston, which left 73 dead.

Maj Riccardo Blackwood from the Jamaican Defence Force said officers had faced trained gunmen and found numerous explosive devices.

Jamaica has been criticised for its use of force in clashes with supporters of an alleged druglord.

Christopher "Dudus" Coke is wanted by the US on drug and gun-running charges.

His supporters have said they will protect him at any cost.

Mr Blackwood said the military had found "a number of things that were quite alarming", during the raids, pointing out what he described as an improvised explosive device.

"Other forms of plastic explosives which were used with electronic trigger mechanisms and booby traps were strategically placed all around the community," he said.

The clashes - sparked by a government announcement that it will extradite Mr Coke to the US - began on Sunday and left 70 civilians and 3 security personnel dead.

Residents of affected parts of Kingston say security forces were heavy-handed.

Human rights group Amnesty International has called for an investigation into the unrest, saying that Jamaican police had a "dire" human rights track record.

The BBC's Nick Davis in Kingston said that some people in the country believe Mr Coke is wanted dead or alive.

But Jamaican police insist that Mr Coke will be arrested and brought to trial, our correspondent adds.

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