Seven more suspects have been arrested in connection with Saturday’s gang violence in Thamaga, which claimed the life of a 66-year-old woman.
Yesterday, Thamaga police acting commander, Assistant Superintendent Otsile Gaboinewe said the fresh arrests bring to nine the total number of suspects in custody, after the initial arrest of two on Sunday. Residents suspect that the notorious Merubise gang was behind the Saturday night violence, which also landed one woman at Thamaga Hospital with serious injuries. Four families were attacked at the Kgosing ward on the night.
While members of the community are pointing accusing fingers at the area police alleging laxity in curbing gang related crimes, Gaboinewe has in turn accused residents of harbouring criminals and thus making it difficult for the police to dismantle the gang.
“These gangs are our children and they live amongst us but often we find ourselves struggling to catch them as the parents hide them and often deny that their children are criminals,” he said.
He said it was unfortunate that residents are now pointing fingers after the hideous incident when they are the ones who have been refusing to cooperate with the police.
Gaboinewe further said they are not yet certain that the attackers were part of the Merubise gangs that have been terrorising residents of Thamaga.
“When investigations are over we will be able to ascertain if the attackers belonged to the Merubise gang, right now we are still relying on the information given by members of the community,” he said.
Although it is not yet clear who the assailants were, the notorious Merubise gang has been fingered as the perpetrators of the gruesome crime.
In the wake of the latest incident, residents of Thamaga are now threatening to take matters into their own hands saying they have lost hope in the police.
On Sunday morning a group of fuming residents gathered in front of the police station angered by what they called the police’s reluctance to curb gang related crimes.
“These people are well known people in our community. The
“The idea was shot down. There was also a group of former soldiers who had offered to form another group but they were also turned down”.
The Merubise gang, which has been terrorising the village since last year, is alleged to have attacked four families at Kgosing ward, seriously injuring two women, including the deceased in one homestead.
The deceased’s grandson Thabang Ramotuana, who was alleged to be the real target of the gangsters, said that many people have offered to identify the perpetrators.
“We are not safe at all in this village but things would have been different had the police been more cooperative. I personally have reported that one member of this group is making my life hell. Every time he sees me, either I buy him beer or I get beaten. This is a person I went to school with right from primary level. Nothing has been done up to now,” he said.
Thabang who has denied any involvement with Merubise believes his own life is in great danger and suspects that the people who killed his grandmother and injured his aunt might have come for him.
“Really I do not know what they want from me. I have been threatened before and on Saturday night when they attacked my family I was pained by the fact that I could not do anything to help. I watched from the shadows of the night and hoped they would not hurt anyone,” he said.