Tuesday, 19 April 2022

Botshabelo: Twenty male suspects appeared in the Bloemfontein High Court on Wednesday; 13 April 2022, to stand trial for gang-related cases that include murder, rape, house robbery, theft, arson and malicious damage to property.

The group of males are reportedly affiliates of the BTK Gang and were arrested by the Provincial Anti-Gang Unit and Boithuso Police Station members after a spree of attacks on houses where it is believed that ‘Maroma’ gang members live.

On Monday; 16 November 2020, a group of males, suspected to belong to BTK gang, arrived at a house in R-Section in Botshabelo. The group kicked down, broke the door and stormed into the house. They then attacked and assaulted one male with weapons (pangas). The victim managed to escape but was admitted at a hospital with serious injuries.

The group proceeded to the next targeted address in W-Section. The targeted Maroma gang members managed to escape however, the brother to the one who was sought, remained behind hiding in the bedroom. The attack continued and when he tried to escape through the window he was surrounded by the assailants who fatally assaulted him. The female, who was still in the house, was raped. The group robbed the victims of their cellphones.

One street away from the previous address, another house was targeted, attacked and the three sought males, who were sitting in the shack at the back of the house watching movies on the laptop, managed to escape. The group robbed the house of the laptop and three cellphones left behind by the victims.

Yet another house was attacked and the targeted male escaped by entering in one of the neighbouring houses. The group first stole property from the house and then chased after the targeted victim. The owners of the neighbouring house locked the doors but the house was set alight by the resurgent BTK group. Eight people in the house and three children were spared from the fire.

Few other houses were attacked with one of the victims ending in hospital with severe injuries. Victims at one of the houses escaped in their vehicle and rushed to the police station where they reported the attacks. At the last house, a matriculant was attacked while studying however, he managed to escape. The Gang robbed him of the study material. Several cases were opened at Boithuso Police Station.

A Provincial Task Team was established and twenty-one suspects were arrested two days later. They all appeared before court and bail was denied and all suspects were remanded in custody. One docket was referred back to the Regional Court.

The trial for the twenty suspects is set to continue in the Bloemfontein High Court until Friday; 13 May 2022.