2 arrested for public violence in Botshabelo

2012-08-20 20:12

Johannesburg - Two people were arrested for public violence in Botshabelo on Monday, after a crowd attacked two youths accused of being part of a gang, Free State police said.

Residents in the area accused the youths, aged 17 and 19, of being members of the gang BTK (Born To Kill), which had terrorised pupils in a school in N Section, Captain Tseko Mokgahle said.

They attacked pupils with knobkerries while they walked down the street.

The men arrested were aged 19 and 22 and would appear in Botshabelo Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, said Mokgahle.

"The reports are that the community said it was tired of the gang that terrorises their children while at school. [The] community went all out searching for the group members today."

They set alight two shacks, thought to be home to some members of the gang, and damaged another shack.

"For now the charge is public violence, because property owners have not yet opened arson and damage to property cases."

The youths assaulted were taken to Botshabelo Hospital where their conditions were critical. They would not be arrested, as police did not suspect them of committing an offence.

"We can't arrest them, because they have done nothing. Angry community [members] assaulted them as they are alleged to be members of BTK."

On Friday, 10 gang members aged between 16 and 21 were arrested for public violence when they went to a school in the area with knives and pangas and intimidated pupils.

It was not known what their motive was.

Mokgahle said the pupils fled and no one was harmed, but schooling was disrupted.

The gang members arrested appeared in the Botshabelo Magistrate's Court on Monday. The outcome of the court proceedings was not immediately known, but three of them, aged 16 and 17, were released into their parents' custody.

Read more on:    bloemfontein

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