Bloody gang battles

Police comb the scene for evidence following the murder of Ebrahiem Ismail, 46, of Bokmakierie, who was gunned down at a Kenilworth petrol station on Saturday. See more on page 3.

A two-year-old boy was shot and killed in Hanover Park on Friday – caught in the crossfire during an ongoing war between two rival gangs.

The boy was the youngest of three others who were shot dead in apparent gang warfare.

The toddler, Muees Calvin, was on his 13-year-old brother Taariq’s shoulders while they walked home with their mother, Nazreen Williams, from Solent Court in Hanover Park on Friday April 5 at 8.45pm after they have had supper at their grandmother’s house.

According to reports, four men stood at the shop in Athwood Road and opened fire into the court, hitting Muees in his head.

A resident rushed him to hospital but he died in his arms at the hospital.

Chairperson of the Hanover Park Safety Forum, Shireen Hendricks, said on Monday April 8 the child’s body had not been released from the Salt River mortuary. She said the family were awaiting the body so that Muees could be buried according to Muslim rites, which should have taken place the day after his murder.

Ms Hendricks said on Friday the group consisting of 100 people, started patrolling in the area as it considered a red zone.

“We saw these men and followed them but they ran through the flats and by the time we got to them it was too late. We tried looking for them but could not find them afterwards,” she said.

According to Philippi police station’s spokesman, Captain Lance Goliath, one man was a taken in for questioning on Saturday April 6 and is being questioned by SAPS’ Anti-Gang Unit.

He said he could not confirm if the shooting was gang-related.

However, Ms Hendricks said the four men were gang members and were shooting at members of a rival gang.

She said there had been sporadic shooting since November last year as the two gangs fought over drug turf.

Captain Goliath said shooting in the area had been going on for about a month now but he could not confirm if it was gang-related.

He appealed to the community to give police relevant information for which a reward would be given.

In a separate shooting, an alleged Bokmakierie gangster died in a hail of bullets behind the wheel of his BMW at a Kenilworth petrol station on Saturday.

Police arrested four men after the alleged Hard Livings gang boss was killed at the pumps.

In a video that was circulated on social media, two gunmen are seen firing on Ebrahiem Ismail, 46, of Bokmakierie, as he sat in his vehicle at the petrol station between Doncaster Road and Punters Way, at 6.45pm.

In the video, two men with pistols run to the car. From both sides of the BMW they fire repeatedly at Mr Ebrahim, who is seen writhing behind the wheel and collapsing as the bullets hit home. The gunmen then run off.

According to provincial police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel André Traut the gunmen fled in a gold Toyota Avanza, but were followed by members of the public who alerted the police.

A high-speed chase followed with shots exchanged between the police and the fleeing suspects.

The chase ended in Jakes Gerwel Drive, Goodwood, where the men, aged 20, 25, 29 and 30, were arrested.

Police also confiscated two unlicensed 39mm pistols, believed to be the murder weapons.

The Toyota Avanza had been hijacked in Kleinvlei, said Lieutenant Colonel Traut.

The men were due to appear in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday April 7 on charges of murder, attempted murder, the possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition and the possession of a stolen car.

Meanwhile in Bonteheuwel, more than 100 City law-enforcement cops will have boots on the ground in Bonteheuwel before the end of the month to stem gang violence that has claimed over 20 lives there so far this year, said the ward councillor, Angus Mckenzie.

He said the community was fed up with the killings.

On Wednesday April 3, Junaid Petersen, 25, died in a gang-releated shooting on the corner of Swartysterhout Street and Bonteheuwel Avenue, after 8pm, according to Bishop Lavis police spokesman Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi.

His death had followed a 20-minute gun battle, with police nowhere in sight, said Mr Mckenzie.

Junaid’s janazah was held on Thursday April 4.

Condolences streamed in for the family on a Bonteheuwel Facebook page.

Tania Bredekamp said: “May Allah grant him a high place in Jannah and give comfort to his family and friends.”

Jessica Richards said: “Condolences to his family in this extremely challenging period.”

On Sunday March 24, five-year-old Liam Simons was shot and injured, while playing with his friend, in front of his house in Syringa Street (“Trauma scars remain”, Athlone News, April 3).

Liam was shot twice in his buttocks and once in his back. His nine-year-old friend escaped with a flesh wound. Liam was discharged from hospital two days later.

Mr Mckenzie said the 104 law enforcement officers would be based in Bonteheuwel possibly at the multi-purpose centre from Wednesday April 24, with a strong focus on crime prevention and visibility while working with police, neighbourhood watches, and the community police forum.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said officers would work in the area until the end of June and then be deployed to Valhalla Park and then Bishop Lavis.

The deployment would include visible police officers as well as those dedicated to gang-related crime and crime at schools.

“This forms part of a three-legged operation, including policing, urban regeneration, and social development,” he said.

Designated officials would work with youth at risk of joining gangs, he said.

Bishop Lavis Community Police Forum chairman Graham Lindhorst said the deployment – which comes just ahead of the national elections – was needed in the entire precinct, not just Bonteheuwel, and it needed to work closely with the police and not be used as a “political tool”.

“They must work alongside SAPS and report at the station and be deployed from there and join the police parades. Any help that can come into our areas will help.”

Anyone with information can call Detective Sergeant Siyasanga Mapukata on 071 673 2796 or Crime Stop on 0860 10111.