Cape Town - Five schoolboys are in hospital fighting for their lives after they were shot outside a shop, allegedly by group of gangsters.

A 15-year-old Grade 8 pupil at Wesbank High, who was still in his school uniform, lost a kidney in the shooting.

All five, who ranged in age from 11 to 19, were taken to Tygerberg Hospital with severe injuries after they were shot in the stomach, chest and arms.

To protect their safety, the Cape Argus is not naming the boys.

Tygerberg Hospital spokesman Darren Francis said the boys’ conditions ranged from serious to stable.

The teenagers had been singing rap music outside a game shop in Kwazakhele Crescent, not far from their homes, when a group of gang members attacked them, firing several shots at them.

Police spokesman FC van Wyk said the shooting incident took place at around 7.15pm on Wednesday.

A witness told the police that he had heard gunshots from inside his home.

Van Wyk said: “The witness said he saw the victims running. They were all wounded and had to be taken to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.”

The mother of the 15-year-old, said that he was in a critical condition.

He was hit three times in the stomach and needed emergency surgery.

“He’s living on one kidney now – the doctors had to remove the other one and they told me that his liver was also affected,” she sobbed.

She said two of her son’s friends were also operated on on Thursday.

The 11-year-old was shot in the chest.

“These children have been playing together for a long time, and for them to be shot at the way they were is cruel. It saddens me very much.”

She said her son was not a gangster. He used to do odd jobs for neighbours and was loved by residents.

“We have a huge problem here. The boys who shot my son know him and they know my son is not afraid of them. Why should he run each time they come around as if he’s a gangster? He is not a gangster.”

Mfuleni Community Policing Forum spokesman Sandile Dastile said Wesbank was a problem area because of gang violence.

However, Dastile said that in this particular incident, the victims could not be linked to any gangs.

“Therefore the motive of this shooting is still being investigated,” he said.

Van Wyk said attempted murder cases had been opened. No arrests had been made.

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Cape Argus