Neo Black Movement of Africa (NBM) denies a link to Black Ax. Here they show up with a common banner. (Photo: Wikimedia)
Neo Black Movement of Africa (NBM) denies a link to Black Ax. Here they show up with a common banner. (Photo: Wikimedia)

Italy's fifth mafia


HUMAN TRAFFICKING: The Nigerian mafia is smuggling both people and drugs. Threats, violence and voodoo rituals are used to force girls into prostitution.

Hansen is a professor of social studies at UiS and a regular reviewer in MODERN TIMES.
Email: ketil.f.hansen@uis.no
Published: 2020-03-01
Ascia nera. La brutal intelligence della mafia nigeriana
Author: Leonardo Palmisano
Fandango libri, Italy

In the street Giudecca Vecchia in the infamous mafia neighborhood Forcella in Naples I see the Nigerian girls standing close together. They wait for customers. I usually choose the neighboring street when I go to the train station, although it is a detour. But on some nights I can't resist the temptation: I have to have one fried pizza from Antica Pizzeria d'è Figliole. They opened in 1860, long before Italy's Queen Margherita ate her first pizza in town and got Pizza Margherita named after her. But it is uncomfortable to walk this short street stump and get so many offers for buying sex.

It is these prostitute girls who are the protagonists of Leonardo Palmisano's book on human trafficking, organised crime og mafia i Nigeria and its branches to Italy.

His previous two books were about organizations in the Italian mafia; this book deals with the Nigerian Mafia Network Neo-Black Movement of Africa (NBM) and its violent branch Black Ax.

Inspired by Black Panthers

NMB was established by students at the University of Benin City in Nigeria 7.7.in 1977. Inspired by the American Civil Rights Organization Black Panther Party (BPP, Black Panthers) NMB wanted to become an intellectual Pan-African liberation movement.

But slogans like "forgiveness is a sin" as well as the ax as the organization's symbol indicate that not only intellectual abilities are valued. While the leader of the NMB, Felix Kupa, denies any link between the NMB and the Black Ax, others are certain that the Black Ax is a violent cult so closely associated with the NMB that they do not see a difference between them.

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From brothel to brothel

Palmisano has interviewed Nigerian Diana who sells her body on the street in Palmisano's own hometown of Bari. He has spoken to Robert - the pagan king of Nigerians in Palermo, met Laura and Clara, who have worked from brothels to…


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