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23 dead in Cape Town's Marikana as war rages between gangs, vigilantes

Hundreds of people, including children, have fled Cape Town's Marikana informal settlement as gangs and community protection patrols fight it out in a war that has left 23 dead in the past three weeks.
At night residents are woken by the sound of automatic gunfire as the patrols and criminals take each other on in running gunfights.
On Friday night gunmen - believed to be linked to criminal gangs - in search of community safety patrol members murdered 11 people in taverns and on the township's streets.
Twelve men believed to be criminals have been stoned, beaten or burned to death in Marikana settlement since September 12. Friday night's murders are believed to have been in retaliation for seven murders on September 25.
The community's safety patrols have been strengthened because of a rise in crime in the area, bringing vigilantes and gangs of young people into direct confrontation.
Residents say gangsters have made the area a no-go zone.
Cebisile Mngqengqiswa was one of the 11 community patrol members shot dead outside a tavern on Friday night. His brother, Manelisi, found him in lying in a pool of blood.
Mngqengqiswa said the talk among residents was that the gunmen were avenging the killing of gangsters by vigilantes. He said residents had taken it upon themselves to patrol the settlement and rid it of crime.
"The gunmen on Friday night were looking for any place where people had gathered and opened fire. It was just to make a point.
"A security guard was shot and killed by the assailants. Witnesses say they asked him if he was also patrolling but before he could answer they shot and killed him."
Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato on Sunday visited the tavern where Nonesi Jokazi found her son, killed along with two others.
A community leader played a WhatsApp voice note in which a resident describes being accosted by "young, well-dressed men" and asked: "Where are the people who killed our friends?"
By that time four people had already been murdered. She can be heard pleading for the police to be alerted, saying: "They [the young men] are on a rampage."
Hundreds of Marikana shacks were padlocked shut on Sunday, their occupants having fled the violence.
Plato walked through the area with the police, talking to residents who had remained behind. One who, asked not to be named, told Plato that he was terrified: "We are beyond scared. I can't sleep. I can't go out of my shack."
Plato said it was disturbing: "So many people dead. To listen to community leaders, how they found the bodies lying on top of each other . it seems as if they wanted to use one another as cover."
Community leader Joseph Makeleni said residents would want vengeance for Friday's killings. "It's crucial that the police minister call in the soldiers so that they can take all the guns away. We need the soldiers because the police can't do this alone. Do you think the people will still put their hope in the police? We don't blame the police, there are just too few of them."
Western Cape police spokesman Novela Potelwa said investigators had been assigned to the case. The team will be supported by the National Intervention Unit, the Tactical Response Team and Crime Intelligence.
Potelwa said three suspects were arrested for the burning to death of three people on September 12.
"The suspects appeared in court last week. They remain in custody."
● September 12: three suspected gangsters burned to death by communitysafety patrollers;
● September 14: one suspected gangster murdered;
● September 15: one suspected gangster murdered;
● September 25: seven suspected gangsters stoned and burned to death invigilante attacks; and
● September 29: 11 community safety patrollers executed in attacks by suspected gangsters.

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