Pubdate: Tue, 04 Apr 2006
Source: Cape Argus (South Africa)
Copyright: 2006 Cape Argus.
Author: Norman Joseph


Several people have already died in a running gang war in Hanover Park
and now the Ghetto Kids are digging in and preparing for more attacks.

Members of the Ghetto Kids vowed yesterday to "defend the
neighbourhood", even if it meant a loss of life.

They admitted that since Philippi police had arrested five alleged
gangsters and seized firearms and ammunition at the weekend, there had
been no shootings but they expected more trouble to flare up.

Residents in Hanover Park also fear an upsurge in the warfare between
the Ghetto Kids and the notorious Americans gang and other gangs
supporting them this week.

The area was saturated with Philippi police, headed by station
commissioner Senior Superintendent Christopher Jones, and Metro Police
who patrolled the area yesterday.

The streets were virtually empty, and some residents peered through
their windows every time a vehicle cruised by. They seemed oblivious
to a drug transaction in progress right in front of a Cape Argus news

The Americans gang operates in Caspian Avenue and Athburg Walk, while
the Ghetto Kids' stronghold is in Rywood Walk area.

Ghetto Kids members said although they feared an attack at any time of
the day or night, they were ready if the Americans moved in.

One of the leaders said: "Look, we know we are fewer than the
Americans. But we are not going to be sitting ducks waiting to be hit
at any time.

"We are scared, yes, but we are going to fight back. Some of their
guys recently came out of prison and accused us of killing some of
their members (three years ago). What we hear is that they call it
revenge killings."

In addition, he said that some of his gang's drug peddlers were
selling "the stuff" somewhere near the bus and taxi terminus.

Americans gangsters also deployed their peddlers at and near the
terminus and the two groups of sellers were allegedly poaching each
other's clients and started to argue about turf.

"That's when the shootings started," said a member of the Ghetto Kids
who asked not to be named.

One resident told how gunmen burst through a front door of a house and
shot dead Eric Michael Kuscus, 30, as he was sleeping in the lounge.

A distraught relative said Kuscus had been accused, with a friend, of
killing an American gangster three years ago but he was acquitted in
court of the murder.

Then last week he was shot dead "for something he did not

Ebrahim Williams, 20, and Quinton Ontong, 22, were also shot and
killed last week while standing in front of a house in Phillans Walk.

A 24-year-old and an 18-year-old, whose names police have not released
as a safety measure, were seriously wounded.

On Friday Kurt Williams, 18, was shot dead by a taxi driver near the

The shooting happened after an alleged gangster, known only as "Nag",
apparently tried to force the taxi driver to join a funeral of the two
other gangsters, and to ferry mourners free of charge.

According to residents, Nag's mother was kicked to death by gangsters
three years ago at the height of another bout of gang warfare.

A five-year-old girl was shot and lightly wounded in her left leg
while walking with her pregnant mother in Phillans Walk during the
shooting on Friday.

Police spokesman Captain Randall Stoffels said no further shooting
incidents had occurred in the Hanover Park area since Friday.

"Police have contingency plans in place and maximum deployment to
enforce stability in the area," Stoffels said.

"SA Police and Metro Police members were deployed in areas of concern
and maintain a high police visibility.

"During an integrated crime prevention operation held at various
flashpoints in the Hanover Park area on Saturday, police arrested five
men aged between 23 and 28 for illegal possession of firearms and
ammunition," Stoffels said.

Police seized two revolvers and three 9mm pistols during the
operation. The firearms will be sent for ballistic tests to determine
if any of them were used in any serious and violent crimes.
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