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Death toll from Jamaican manhunt rises to 70

For the past five days, the people of Tivoli Gardens have been trapped in their homes as government forces hunted alleged drug kingpin Christopher "Dudus" Coke and exchanged fire with gang members.

On Thursday, many residents emerged from behind locked doors and iron gates to survey their bullet-pocked neighborhood. They described a four-day nightmare of gunfire and chaos that has left more than 70 dead and about two dozen injured. About 560 people have been arrested.

Violet Dias, 67, said she and her family had been lying on the floor since Sunday, trying to avoid gunfire. As she sat in the sunlight eating cornmeal porridge, she said police burst into her home Tuesday and grabbed her nephew and grandson, both in their 20s.

"They come in and search and say, 'Where the guns! Where the guns!'" she said. "No justification. They just take them out and bad word after bad word."

George Ward, 46, said he saw police drag detainees away by their hair. His 18-year-old son was among those arrested on Tuesday and he hasn't been heard from since.

"They took my son and it was a mistake," he said, as his wife walked beside him weeping. "Now they don't answer our questions."

Jamaican officials said they will investigate the residents' allegations. With Coke still on the run, the government says operations are continuing in Tivoli, Denham Town and other neighborhoods.

To read the complete article, visit www.miamiherald.com.

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