Cape Town - A 23-year-old man was shot and killed on Wednesday night in the heart of territory being disputed by the Americans and the Jesters gangs in Manenberg.

Another man, also 23, was injured in the shooting at 9.20pm.

Police had not arrested the assailants by the time of publication.

“Two 23-year-old males were standing in Beatrix Lane when two unknown males approached them. Without any warning, they fired several shots at both men, hitting one of them in the head. He died at the scene.

“The other man sustained an injury to his foot,” said police spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut. He added that the shooters had fled on foot.

Thames Avenue, which runs off Beatrix Lane, is divided between the rival Jester and American gangs, said a source close to the investigation and with inside knowledge of gang activities.

“On New Year’s Eve, the two gangs signed a peace treaty to ensure there was not shooting during the end of the festive season. Last night’s shooting was the first since, signifying the treaty has been broken,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous.

The source said merely stepping foot in a rival gang’s territory was enough to warrant an assassination.

“A recent one of these shootings happened because news spread that a gang member had attended a braai on a rival’s turf. That is how petty some of these murders are,” the source said.

“Becoming part of one of these gangs is a form of entrapment – you become a hostage in your own community. You can no longer visit family and friends living in different areas freely.

“What’s more, the community are not playing their role in ending this trend. Parents want to protect their gangster children, so they do not co-operate with the police.”

A tragic twist is many of the rival gangsters were childhood friends who used to play sport and games together on the streets where the shootings now occur.

The Cape Argus arrived at the scene shortly after the shooting last night. The situation was tense, as bystanders watched police secure and investigate the scene. Some bystanders threatened the photographer involved.

Cases of murder and attempted murder have been opened at Manenberg police station, after the latest shooting.

Anyone with information can contact Manenberg police at 021 699 9400 or crime stop at 08600 10 111. Manenberg police have guaranteed absolute confidentiality for witnesses and informants. A financial reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest.

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Cape Argus