At least six African immigrants were injured after an Italian gunman opened fire on them on Saturday in the city of Macerata in a racially-motivated attack, according to police. At least one is said to be in a serious condition.
The gunman has been named as Luca Traini who had stood as a candidate for the anti-immigrant Northern League, which has since changed its name to the League to broaden its appeal, at local elections last year.
Officials say he drove around the city in his car for two hours shooting at African migrants injuring several, at least one seriously.
One victim said he was shot in the leg as he was walking in the street by a man inside the car whose face was hidden.
Italian media drew a link between the shootings and the murder last week in Macerata of an 18-year-old girl. Pamela Mastropietro was chopped up and her body parts stuffed into two suitcases which were found dumped on Wednesday.
A Nigerian man, Innocent Oseghale, was arrested on suspicion of her murder. The gunman’s rampage on Saturday included the area where the dismembered corpse was found.
Right-wing politicians last week leapt on the death of Mastropietro to promote their anti-migrant message. It also comes amid a heated electoral campaign in Italy ahead of the March 4 national election, where anti-foreigner sentiment has become a key theme.
More than 600,000 mainly African migrants have reached Italy by boat over the past four years. The centre-right bloc, which includes the League, says the vast majority have no right to asylum and has promised mass expulsions if it takes power.
Austin Ohaegbu with agency reports