‘Gangster’ killed in shooting

2016-09-27 06:00
The body of Ghatiem Classien is carried through streets of Bokmakierie during his Janazah on Wednesday 21 September.

The body of Ghatiem Classien is carried through streets of Bokmakierie during his Janazah on Wednesday 21 September.

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Tensions are running high in Bokmakierie after the shooting and eventual murder of an alleged member of the Hard Livings gang on Monday 19 September.

Gatiem Classien, who lived in Eighth Avenue, was shot in the head in an alleged gang altercation, succumbing to his wounds at Groote Schuur Hospital on Tuesday 20 September.

Shootings have become more frequent in the area for the last few weeks as rival gangs have become engaged in hostilities, says Athlone police spokesperson Sergeant Zita Norman.

According to Norman, information received by police indicates Classien was previously a member of the G-Unit gang and later defected to the Hard Livings gang where he became a leading figure of the gang in Bokmakierie.

“It is alleged that Classien wanted to recruit members of the Bad Boys into the Hard Livings. The Bad Boy gang members refused and this resulted in the shooting,” states Norman.

Classien’s Janazah was held on Wednesday 21 September after his body was being held back for an autopsy the previous day. During the ceremony, police escorted taxis out of the area, but Hard Livings members who were present tried to gain access into an alleged rival drug seller’s house, pelting the house with rocks and bricks. The occupants were escorted to safety.

It is also alleged that the Hard Livings gang has saturated the area with members from outlying areas, Norman says.

Norman confirms that no arrests have been made despite certain community members having been identified as possible suspects for Classien’s murder.

It is believed the suspects are in hiding, Norman says.

Norman adds that despite the tensions, the area has remained quiet since the Janazah. However, she says there is still a strong police presence in the area in order to be alert to any potential flare ups.

Two weeks ago, People’s Post reported on the “Walking bus” taking shape for Bokmakierie Primary School, Hazendal Primary School and Spes Bona High School (“Bokmakierie women mobilise for walking bus”, 13 September) but when asked on the progress of the initiative, programme coordinator Nicole Williams says she is concerned that these shootings will destabilise the initiative. “It will affect learners of the walking bus and the learners of the three schools going to school, also the elderly walking up and down in the area.”

V Anyone with information can contact Athlone police on 021 697 9238 or 021 697 9239.

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