We will hunt you down, cops tell Bloem school gangs

2015-09-29 22:28

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Bloemfontein - Members of three gangs made up of school children would not be given free rein to cause havoc in the Mangaung township in the Free State, police say. 

Police MEC Butana Komphela on Tuesday held a press briefing where he said the township and province would not be "held ransom by young criminals".

"Those who belong to groupings and are currently in hiding should continue to hide or hand themselves over to the police, because we will find them," he warned. 

It was understood that three gangs, namely the Born to Kill (BTK), Triple Six (666) and Maroma had in the last week been involved in territorial fights.

On September 18, a Grade 11 learner was fatally stabbed at school, allegedly by a member of the Maroma gang. Three people were arrested and charged with his murder. It was not immediately clear what had happened during their court appearance. 

On September 23, community members decided to take to the streets and confronted the gang members after messages started doing the rounds on social media that the gangs intended causing chaos in schools in Mangaung.

"Young men wielding guns and knives were allegedly seen vandalising property and attacking school learners in Petunia, Kagisho, Ikaelelo, Marang, Gonyane," said Komphela.

"Such acts angered the community who then took it upon themselves to attack gang members. As such, one person alleged to be a gang member, was brutally attacked in Heidedal and a tavern owner who was also said to be linked to Maroma was fatally attacked and his body burned in Phase 4, Bloemfontein."

Following investigations, the police and Hawks on Friday arrested 12 people for the violence. They were charged with murder and attempted murder and appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court on Monday. 

Their case was postponed to October 5. They all remained behind bars. 

On Monday, police arrested three alleged gang members. They were allegedly on their way to attack rival gangs at another school. The trio was found in possession of weapons. It was unclear when they were expected to appear in court. 

Komphela called on community members to stop inciting violence through social media. He said the police's Cyber Crime unit was trying to trace the origins of messages that incited violence.

He called on parents to verify the authenticity of these messages before taking action.

Komphela said the police were working with the education department to ensure that learners were safe at schools.

Read more on:    bloemfontein  |  crime

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