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Death lurks in the night

Durban - Residents of a block of flats in Wentworth on Monday spoke of their brush with death after gunshots were fired at their building, one bullet piercing a man’s earlobe.

Bullets also struck a window near where a woman was sleeping next to her 5-month-old baby.

A stray bullet struck the windowpane of Mildred Roskruge's flat while she was asleep with her baby. Picture: Zanele Zulu. Credit: DAILY NEWS

Reginald Cheffer, 20, told the Daily News on Monday he had been standing in the corridor of the flats in Hime Street, at about 9pm on Thursday, when he heard the shuffling of footsteps along a pathway leading to the back of the block.

He said he heard voices and then a burst of gunfire.

“I did not know which direction they were coming from. I felt warm momentarily. I ran into my neighbour’s flat. He told me my ear was bleeding. We were whispering in fear that the gunman might come back,” Cheffer said.

Cheffer went to hospital where he was told a bullet could have had passed through his earlobe.

He said he was lucky to be alive.

Another resident, Mildred Roskruge, 21, said she was asleep in her room when she heard the sound of a gunshot.

“At first it was a single shot. I stayed in bed. A few seconds later more shots rang out. I grabbed my 5-month-old baby off the bed and my two sons, 6 and 10. We lay on the room floor until we heard residents outside,” she said.

Two bullet holes struck the wall above Roskruge’s window while another hit the pane and window frame.

She had to patch up the hole in the window using a piece of cardboard.

An elderly resident in the building, who requested anonymity, said there could have been two deaths in the flats as a result of an ongoing drug war between two gangs of youths. Wentworth ward councillor Aubrey Snyman lambasted people for not reporting incidents of violence to the police.

“It becomes difficult for police to deploy personnel without statistics,” he said.

“There are many random shootings not reported. It is difficult to differentiate if it was gang violence or drug turf-related shooting. We had an incident where guys drive past and shoot in the air to frighten an opposition gang or dealer.”

Snyman said: “The policing forums are working closely with police to clamp down on these incidents.

“Some guns are licensed while others are not. We appeal to people at meetings to come forward with information on where guns and drugs are stored.”

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