The Community of Bonteheuwel Association (COBA) has warned the community to be alert for the outbreak of a gang war after a 21-year-old man was murdered last Monday.
According to Bishop Lavis police station commander, Brigadier Christopher Jones, the victim was a member of the Stupas gang and believes Monday’s shooting may have been done in retaliation after a rival gang member was shot on Friday March 23. However, he said, this could not be confirmed.
Brigadier Jones said no arrests had been made yet.
He added that gangs such as the Stupas, Hard Livings, Bad Boys and Dixie Boys were currently engaged in a turf war and that there was also infighting within these gangs themselves.
“These days the younger boys are standing up for themselves and not just taking orders from the higher ranking members, and this is causing infighting. It is fairly quiet but the infighting could spiral out of control at anytime. We have extra officers on the ground to monitor the situation,” he said.
Chairperson of the COBA, Abie Clayton, has no doubt that Monday’s shooting was gang-related.
“We don’t know what they are fighting over but I think it is mostly over turf. The community should be wary – more than they usually are. We need the police to do more on their side such as random searches perhaps,” said Mr Clayton.
He also urged parents to beware who their children befriended and said he hoped the community would be able to work together to prevent more youth from falling into the cycle of crime and gangsterism.
Bishop Lavis community police forum chairperson, Graham Lindhorst, however, said the shooting could not yet be confirmed as being gang-related. “There is, however, a situation in the area at the moment where the gangs are infighting and that could spiral out of control and affect the innocent community,” he said.
He added that the situation in the area was tense at the moment and that the community wanted action. “They are fed up with all of the crime in the area. We are looking for a long-term plan and that includes trying to keep primary and and high school pupils away from the gangs. Part of the solution is to approach religious leaders to speak to the pupils so that we can intervene at a school level,” said Mr Lindhorst.