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Johannesburg - A gang terrorising an informal settlement south-west of Joburg has killed four people after opening fire on a shack, burning down others and assaulting residents.
Four people were shot dead, five others were in a serious condition in hospital and at least 18 shacks were burnt down in an attack at the Leeupoort informal settlement near Carletonville at the weekend.
The motive for the attack was unknown, said police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini. It was also unclear who the men were or how many were involved, he said.
Two people were shot dead in a shack that operated as a shebeen, two others were shot outside the shack one of whom died on the spot while a fourth died in hospital on Sunday.
Five other people some of whom were injured in the shooting, while others were assaulted in other incidents allegedly linked to the gang were still in hospital after the attack.
On Sunday, residents were too scared to give their names as they didn’t know the men, their motives or whether they would return.
A resident, whose shack was burnt down, said he knew of at least 17 other shacks that had been razed.
He said that at about 7pm on Saturday, a large group of men arrived and began setting the shacks alight with petrol.
“I heard them talking, saying they had run out of petrol and they said ‘just go in [to a shack], take paraffin and use that’.”
On Sunday, the smell of burnt metal still lingered, while scorched metal and melted plastic covered the ground.
Some residents whose shacks burnt down said they didn’t know why their homes had been targeted, while several other shacks around them were untouched.
A fight had started at about 4pm, said a resident, Motsieloa Motsieloa.
He said he had seen an argument between some locals who were drinking under a tree and another group of unknown men in a Quantum taxi.
“Tonight, no man is going to sleep in these shacks,” Motsieloa said he heard the men in the taxi say.
He said the two groups of men began throwing rocks at each other. Motsieloa and another local went and tried to separate the men.
The other man went to the group in the taxi because he claimed they had come to see him. However, this man then went inside his shack and returned with a gun and began firing at the men under the tree.
“I thought I was going to die, being the peacekeeper,” said Motsieloa, who fled at this point.
The man with the gun and the men in the taxi then allegedly chased the locals before leaving the scene.
They returned at about 8pm with three taxis full of men, said Motsieloa, adding that they began burning shacks and beating up people.