The minister of the Interior, Juan Ignacio Zoido, has reassured Costa residents that the recent spate of serious violent crimes are “just isolated incidents”. Speaking on a visit to Marbella to unveil plans for a new local headquarters for the National Police in the town, he called for people to stay calm and “not create a sense of panic”.
In the past three weeks a wave of violence has swept along the coast in six separate incidents, culminating in the latest, last Saturday, May 12, when a father was shot dead in broad daylight in San Pedro after the first communion service of his son.
The outbreak began on 30 April, with the discovery of the body of local man Francisco José López in his car in the Guadalhorce valley.
Then on 4 May, two Moroccan men reported that they had been shot at in a bar in Fuengirola's marina and this was followed three days later by the grim discovery of a man's body dumped by the side of the A-7 near the Costa del Sol Hospital. His wounded partner was found nearby flagging down traffic and claiming the couple had been kidnapped.
Further to this an eastern European man walked into a health centre in Fuengirola on 11 May with gunshot wounds. After treatment he fled but was tracked down by the police shortly afterwards.
And finally, on the same day that the man in San Pedro was killed, a north African man was freed from behind the La Cañada shopping centre in Marbella, where he had been tied up for 24 hours.
Investigators say that none of the crimes appear to be linked and are related to the settling of scores between criminal and drugs gangs.
Gangs stealing others' drugs
Malaga province, including the Costa del Sol, enjoyed a fall in overall crime in the first three months to the end of March this year: good news that is now threatened by May's violent outbreak. Experts say the sudden surge is due to gangs stealing each others' hauls. “Buying and bringing the drug has costs. If you steal it here it's all profit,” said an expert.
The Interior minister on his visit to Marbella said that he did not expect the tenser situation between gangs and security forces in the Campo de Gibraltar and Algeciras areas, where the drugs are brought ashore from north Africa, to spread along the Costa del Sol and denied there was a security problem.
Marbella's new National Police station will be twice the size of the current one and will be built on council land near the bus station.