Emotions are running high in Hanover Park following the senseless killing of a four year old boy in the area on Wednesday evening. The boy was shot in the head in a gang crossfire last and died in his grandmother’s arms. It’s believed the boy is from Hermanus and was visiting his grandmother for the holidays. Community members chased the suspect, allegedly a member of the Laughing Boys. Phillipi police have confirmed the murder but said no suspects have been arrested.
Speaking to VOC on Thursday morning, Maulana Tauha Rodrigues from a coalition of imams formed to fight gangsterism said things were tense in the area.
“This boy was visiting his family and just after two hours, this innocent child got shot. We had a massive crowd in front of the door where the child was killed and residents decided to march over to the Laughing Boys. As a religious leader, I tried my best to calm the crowd, but our people are pumped with emotions,” he said.
Community members are up in arms as despite a recent peace agreement, some 18 people were killed in gang related violence since the start of the festive season.
“Alhamdullilah, the Hanover Park community managed to forge peace in most of the gang territories except for the Laughing Boys and the Americans. Last week, we had a camp in the Laughing Boys territory and tried our best but the Americans didn’t want to give in. The Laughing Boys striked back last night and unfortunately, this little boy was the victim.”
Rodrigues said SAPS had given the community the reassurance that they will bring the perpetrator to book.
“We are trying to find the whereabouts of the shooter and the hide out places of the Laughing Boys. What is so sad is that after he shot the youngster, he still came back and shot again in the street. The gun jammed and he was laughing about it. We demand that SAPS put all their resources into investigation.”
He warned that residents would take things into their own hands if SAPS did not exhaust all their efforts to safeguard the area.
“We will block all entrances to Hanover Park to send a message that enough is enough. We don’t want innocent killings anymore. If this guy is arrested and appears in court, the whole community will rally at the court and demand bail be denied.”
Muslim residents will monitor the gang hotspots on Friday so Christian residents can enjoy a peaceful Christmas. He said the coalition has now joined the #GangsterismMustFall campaign and would be part of a mass march expected to take place in January. VOC