PMB cops fear for their lives

2016-05-10 08:45
Heavily armed police keep a watchful eye on friends and family of notorious gang leader Ian Williams, who was laid to rest at the Mountain Rise Cemetery.

Heavily armed police keep a watchful eye on friends and family of notorious gang leader Ian Williams, who was laid to rest at the Mountain Rise Cemetery. (Witness Photographer)

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Pietermaritzburg - Police say they are working around the clock to bring to justice the gang members responsible for threatening the lives of seasoned Pietermaritzburg officers.

Last week, threats believed to be made by affiliates of suspected syndicate boss Ian Williams were directed at local police officers and security company bosses linked to his shooting, forcing the officers to seek refuge and evacuate their families from their homes ahead of Williams’s ­funeral on Sunday.

Williams — whose gang is suspected to be linked to 80 to 100 cases of ­housebreaking, business robbery and car theft in Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas — was killed in an shootout with police in Montrose on April 30.

Through their investigations, police last week discovered that several officers were named in a hit-list being circulated among gang members close to Williams.

According to a police source, the gang members planned to assassinate two officers linked to Williams’s shooting, and to burn a police vehicle before the funeral.

It is believed that some of the officers named in the list had uprooted their ­families during the early hours of ­Saturday morning, as suspected gang members started pouring into the city for Williams’s funeral.

Various police sources told The ­Witness yesterday they are disappointed with local police management for “not taking more proactive steps” in ensuring the officers’ safety.

However, at a meeting with uMgungundlovu North police cluster management yesterday, spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said the threats were not ­being taken lightly and were being ­addressed by senior police management.

“Arrests are imminent,” Ebrahim said.

Magma Security director Shaheen Suleiman, who is one of the men named in the list, said yesterday he was not ­intimidated by the threats.

“Our job is to fight crime and protect our communities. Nothing will deter us from this,” Suleiman said.

The Witness yesterday also received ­information that several officers from ­various police units and two police ­stations are alleged to be working with Williams’s gang.

According to police sources, information was gathered from informants who named the officers and described their involvement with the gang. It is believed the Crime Intelligence unit is currently heading the probe into the allegations.

The Witness has previously reported that Williams may have had affiliates working within the police service.

A number of police officers yesterday told The Witness that they are calling for a “full-scale investigation” by senior ­police management into the findings.

Ebrahim said yesterday that the ­“excellent manner” in which Williams’s funeral was policed had resulted in the “organised criminal gang’s” plans for a send-off for the gang leader being foiled.

As Sunday’s funeral neared, rumours began surfacing of gang members ­apparently plotting to steal vehicles from in and around the city which, in a ­ritualistic tribute to Williams, would be set alight after his funeral.

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