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Calm after gang violence storm

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Calm after gang violence storm

by Esther Lewis
22 Aug 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

Months of peace between gangs in Manenberg were shattered last week as shooting incidents erupted. Police have confirmed, however, that the situation had simmered down.

According to Captain Randall Stoffels, police spokesperson, gang violence flared up at the beginning of last week.

He says there were several shooting incidents in the area earlier in the week, but no injuries or fatalities were reported.

On Friday, 10 August around 01:00, William Benjamin (58) was caught amidst flying bullets. He paid for this with his life.

"He was in the wrong place at the wrong time," says Stoffels.

Benjamin, who police confirmed had no gang affiliation, was shot several times in Ruimte Road.

He was hit in the upper body and died later that day in GF Jooste Hospital.

On the same morning, a police officer was shot at.

A search for suspects involved in Williams' murder was under way when officers cornered two men.

One of the men pulled out two guns and opened fire at the police. No-one was injured during the incident.

One of the men was arrested for attempted murder, while the other is still at large.

Gangs involved in the recent spate of violence - apparently over drug turf - were the Junky Funky Kids and the Americans, media reports state.

While this could not be confirmed, Manenberg station commissioner, Senior Superintendent Gerard Nieuwoudt, acknowledges that the two gangs may have been responsible.

Nieuwoudt explains the focus of their investigation is on the crimes committed, not on the gangs themselves.

Because of the potentially explosive situation in Manenberg, the provincial police office deployed additional staff to the area over the weekend.

Police arrested four men aged 28, 23, 24 and 26 years in connection with the shootings. They appeared in the Athlone Magistrate's Court yesterday.

The assistance by provincial police is evaluated on a weekly basis.

As no additional incidents of violence were reported over the weekend, the extra manpower may not be needed in the area.

"It just shows that the police were very pro-active this weekend," says Stoffels.

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