2007-03-02 : '40 000 cop bullets in hands of gangs'

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2007-03-02 : '40 000 cop bullets in hands of gangs'

Postby GOSA » Mon, 2007-03-26 07:13


'40 000 cop bullets in hands of gangs'
Norman Joseph
March 02 2007 at 01:28PM

As police and community volunteers patrolled through the night in Manenberg in Cape Town to keep the peace after intense gang warfare on Thursday night, the DA has charged that 40 000 live rounds of ammunition are missing from police premises and are most likely in the hands of warring gangs on the Cape Flats.

The DA spokesperson on community safety, Lennit Max, said on Friday that these bullets had disappeared - in stages - from a strongroom situated at the police's locksmith department at the premises of the provincial Radio Control building in Maitland.

Max said there was a strong possibility that the bullets - which included shotgun and R1 assault rifle ammunition - were in the hands of gangs fighting each other on the Cape Flats, especially in Manenberg.

Following Thursday's slaying of three men, the wounding of another and the shooting of a five-year-old boy, it was quiet on Thursday night as Proudly Manenberg Campaign volunteers and the police patrolled through the night until early Friday morning, forming an iron curtain between the Americans and the Hard Livings gangs.

The escalation of violence has forced the police to drive around the hotspots with their firearms cocked, ready to defend themselves.

Max, who is the former Western Cape police commissioner, plans to release a statement later on Friday about the missing bullets. He said: "Forty thousand bullets are now possibly - and I can also say highly likely - in the hands of gangs, thanks to the police."

Western Cape police spokesperson Superintendent Billy Jones confirmed that ammunition had gone missing, but declined to give details. He said a criminal case against a senior officer and a friend was sub judice and currently before a city court.

The disappearance of the ammunition was linked to firearms found in the homes of the officer and his friend.

"Officially we are not in a position to comment because apart from the court cases, our disciplinary management component is busy with disciplinary action," Jones said.

Meanwhile, Mario Wanza, chairperson of the Proudly Manenberg Campaign, told the Cape Argus on Friday that "life appears cheap in Manenberg, especially the lives of children".

"We want an urgent meeting with city mayor Helen Zille and the premier regarding gang violence in Manenberg."

Early on Thursday there appeared to be chaos, with commuters walking to safer street corners to catch a taxi or bus.

Hundreds of children were standing around on school grounds, unsure what was going to happen next.

The Americans and Hard Livings gangs are allegedly at each other's throats over seven hitmen who crossed from one group to the other.

Last year the seven men broke away and formed the No Fears gang. But the splinter group soon fizzled out and joined up with the Hard Livings gang.

According to residents and Hard Livings members, who asked not to be named, the Americans hunted down the seven hitmen, allegedly gunning down four in the past four months.

A Hard Livings member said the three men shot dead and the fourth one who was wounded Thursday "were a case of mistaken identity, they were not gangsters but the Americans may have thought they were".

o This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Argus on March 02, 2007
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