Italy: Score of Non-EU Migrants Arrested After Riot with Machetes and Swords

Van vehicle of italian police force in Italy with text CARABINIERI
Getty Images

Police arrested 20 non-European Union migrants weeks after a mass brawl between rival groups that involved knives, machetes, and other weapons on the streets of the city of EU

The altercation took place on September 15th and saw two groups of around 40 migrants engage in violence that at the time was believed to have been linked to drug trafficking or a settling of accounts between rival gangs.

The two groups attacked each other with a variety of weapons including machetes, knives, tables, chairs, and even swords, leading to several involved being hospitalised. Many of the weapons were later recovered by police, including a pistol that fired blank ammunition, newspaper Il Giornale reports.

Police were able to locate 20 migrant suspects who lived between Livorno and the city of Bergamo by using CCTV footage and footage shot by locals on their smartphones, leading to their arrests.

Carabinieri investigators believe that the clash between the two groups took place due to drug trafficking issues, as many of the migrants arrested have prior histories of being involved with illegal drugs. At least three of those arrested have been sent to repatriation facilities where they now await deportation from Italy.

Migrants have been involved in drug trafficking in Italy for years, with a 2017 report noting that Nigerian gangs were cooperating with Sicilian Mafia members to run the drug trade and prostitution rackets.

Over the lasts several years, Italian police have made many arrests of migrant drug traffickers, including in 2019 when five Africans were found to be using a church in Rome as a base of operations to traffic and stockpile large amounts of heroin.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that Nigerian gangs were also using asylum reception centres as recruitment grounds, with police finding that many of the drug couriers in Rome have political refugee status.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.