Gangs on the rampage

2010-10-04 00:00

A SUSPECTED prison gang-related attack left two men dead in Mpophomeni, Howick, on Saturday night.

Zitha Kunene and a friend, Sbonelo Makhathini, both in their early 20s, were hacked to death in what is believed to be a revenge attack after a man believed to belong to the “26” or “28” prison gang was stabbed and taken to hospital earlier that evening.

The two were asleep at Zitha’s home with two other men and three women when about 10 men wielding bush-knives forced their way through a window at about 11 pm.

A community member and parent who did not want to be named said there were no parents in the house.

The friends were assaulted and hacked on their chests and heads with bush-knives. They died at the scene.

The assailants then stripped one of the women naked and took her away, leaving the dead and the injured in a pool of blood.

“This killing happened just a few hours after a boy was stabbed and it is clear that this is revenge,” said the parent. “I’m scared because we as parents seem unable to contain this madness, and it might destroy the whole community if it is not stopped.”

He said the young men copy and do what those who have been in prison do.

Police were tipped off and were on their way to the scene when they met the attackers with the naked woman and questioned them.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said the men resisted arrest and one was shot in the hip. Two others were arrested and others ran away.

“We cannot rule out gangsterism in this case, but the investigations are ongoing,” said Jeevan. “It is also possible that this is linked to a wider gang syndicate in the area.”

It is not clear where the woman was being taken by her assailants. Police believe she is lucky and that finding her alive makes it easier to work on the case.

The area is believed to be infested with young men who have adopted the “26” and “28” prison gang numbers and they clash over different “ideologies”. In prison terms, the 26s always seek money and blood while the 28s “specialise” in rape, sodomy and murder.

Before The Witness got to the area yesterday police had allegedly rounded up a number of young men for questioning. They are believed to be members of the rival gangs.

The assistant director in the Durban Westville Youth Centre, Domingo Zulu, said the gang issue outside prison is crime-related.

He said the philosophy of prison gangs is survival, and inmates join gangs for protection.

“The big challenge we have is the lack of support for the inmates. Once a child goes to prison, the parents distance themselves from him. Those juveniles who come out of prison with education successes did so through the support of their parents. The sooner parents stop being ashamed of their children and work with Correctional Services, the better,” said Zulu.

The arrested men face charges of murder, attempted murder and kidnapping. They will appear in the Howick Magistrate’s Court on a date to be announced.

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