Five men have been shot dead on the Costa del Sol in less than a month.  The killing of a 60-year-old French national near Marbella in early December was followed in the middle of the month by murder of a 20-year-old near Mijas.  Both are believed to be the result of score-settling between rival drugs gangs. 

The French victim was shot five times before his attackers sped away in a blue Renault Megane which crashed through barriers onto the AP-7 toll motorway.  It was later found abandoned and alight near Mijas.

The attack, staged at a car park restaurant in Cabopino, has led to a police hunt for a bearded 29-year-old Dutch national who is described as very thin, about 1.8 metres in height and with an Arabic complexion.  It is understood that he is a “very dangerous” known contract killer.

The young man shot dead at a remote area near Mijas is reported to be of Slovenian origin.  More than five bullet wounds, thought to be from automatic weapon, were found on his body.

In the middle of December, 15 people were detained in a joint operation between National Police and Customs officials against a gang importing drugs from Morocco.  A 12-metre launch and 1,200 kilos of hashish were confiscated.

Investigators believe that the spate of murders at the end of last year were unrelated to one another and were not part of an organised, violent campaign.  A spokesman for the Junta de Andalucía stressed that the Costa del Sol is “completely safe” for residents and visitors.

Meanwhile, trades unions representing security forces want more resources to help contain serious crimes.  They say population growth demands reinforcements, particularly as the coast is a popular destination for gangs bringing drugs into Europe from north Africa.