Rustenburg - The trial of 20 men arrested in connection with gang-related cases will continue at the Bloemfontein High Court in May, Free State police said.
According to spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thabo Covane, the group appeared in the Bloemfontein High Court on April 13 facing charges of murder, rape, house robbery, theft, arson and malicious damage to property.
He said the group believed to be members of the BTK (Born to Kill) gang were arrested following a spree of attacks on houses believed to be the homes of members of a rival gang known as Maroma.
In November 2020, the group allegedly went to a house at R-Section in Botshabelo.
“The group kicked down and 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 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,” he said.
“One street away from the previous address another house was targeted and attacked and the three sought males, who were sitting in the shack at the back of the house watching movies on a laptop, managed to escape. The group robbed the house of the laptop and three cellphones left behind by the victims.”
The group went to another house but the targeted man escaped and entered 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.
“A few other houses were attacked with one of the victims ending up 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.”
He said a task team was established and 21 people were arrested two days later.
“They all appeared before court and bail was denied and all the suspects were remanded in custody. One docket was referred back to the Regional Court,” he said.