By Biodun Busari
Italy’s most wanted mafia boss Matteo Messina Denaro who has been a fugitive for 30 years was arrested in Sicily on Monday.
Messina Denaro was reportedly detained in a private clinic in Sicily’s capital, Palermo, in Italy.
BBC reports that he is alleged to be a boss of the notorious Cosa Nostra mafia.
Italian media reported that he had been receiving treatment when he was captured just before 10:00 (09:00 GMT) and taken to a secret location by the Carabinieri, the Italian paramilitary police.
More than 100 members of the armed forces are said to have been involved in the arrest.
A video circulated by Italian media appears to show people standing in the street and applauding the Italian police as Messina Denaro was being led away.
Messina Denaro was tried and sentenced to life in jail in absentia in 1992 over numerous murders.
The murders he had executed included the 1992 killing of anti-mafia prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, the deadly 1993 bomb attacks in Milan, Florence and Rome, and the kidnapping, torture and killing of the 11-year-old son of a mafioso turned state witness.
Messina Denaro once boasted he could “fill a cemetery” with his victims.
The mafia boss also oversaw racketeering, illegal waste dumping, money laundering and drug trafficking for the powerful Cosa Nostra organised crime syndicate.
He was reportedly the protege of Totò Riina, the head of the Corleone clan, who was arrested in 1993 after 23 years on the run.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni lauded the armed forces for their work in nabbing the “most important member of the mafia criminal group.”
“This is a great victory for the state,” Meloni added.