Holness expresses outrage at killing of JDF soldier
Private Reneil King
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has expressed outrage at the killing of a Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldier in the line of duty during an anti-drug operation on Thursday.
He further indicated that "the Jamaican state will not be deterred and we will be relentless in our pursuit of those responsible. The criminals will be brought to justice."
The JDF has identified the soldier as 21-year-old Private Reneil King, who was attached to the Fourth Jamaica Regiment.
In a statement on Friday, Holness expressed deep sadness at the news of King's killing, and expressed condolences to the soldier’s family and colleagues in the JDF.
He went on to highlight that the Government has invested heavily in "increasing the capacity and capabilities of our security forces in combatting crimes and illegal activities."
Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Holness added that "Our security forces have been reaping great success in detection, investigation and interdiction of gangs and criminal masterminds, while at the same time acting within the law and observing the rights of the citizens."
Holness, who is also Minister of Defence, however said the country is now "seeing worrying signs where these criminals are brazen enough to attack and challenge our security forces."
Continuing, he said: "This is a deeply troubling turn in our fight against crime. An attack on our security forces is an attack on the state, an attack against the safety and security of each and every citizen in Jamaica.
"I, like all well-thinking Jamaicans, feel a great sense of outrage at this and other killings and attacks on our security forces and their families," he stated.
The JDF has indicated that King was part of a joint police/military team that was deployed to a location in Milk River, Clarendon on Thursday evening.
The joint team arrived at the targeted location at approximately 6:30 pm, and while conducting search operations, came under fire from gunmen.
The joint team provided first-aid to the wounded soldier before he was airlifted to the May Pen Hospital and later to the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), where he later succumbed to his injuries.
The JDF also reported that 2,900 pounds of marijuana and a boat were seized from the location during the operation.
Private King in happy times.
And on the heels of King's killing, another member of the security forces has been shot dead by criminals, this time on Friday night.
Initial reports are that 27-year-old Police Constable Kemar Francis and colleagues were on patrol on Pretoria Road in the gritty Maxfield Avenue area of St Andrew.
The police team was responding to a reported shooting incident when they were attacked by gunmen.
During the shooting incident, Francis was shot in the head, and later died at hospital.
One of the hoodlums, who was killed by the police during the exchange of gunfire, has been identified as 28-year-old Shavaugn Johnson, alias 'Bunwaist'.
The police are conducting further probes into both incidents.