File picture
Johannesburg - A 15-year-old girl has had emergency surgery after she was shot seven times then beaten up, allegedly by a gang of four who robbed her home in Muldersdrift, north-west of the Joburg CBD, on Tuesday night.

It was the 10th violent crime to hit the rural and farming community this month, leaving residents in fear that a gang was on the loose.

Muldersdrift has experienced a semblance of law and order for almost two years. A few years ago, constant crime led to it being nicknamed “Murdersdrift”.

At the time, marauding gunmen robbed residents, left several people dead, raped women and wounded many locals.

These ugly days have returned, residents fear.

“We started seeing this violent crime towards the end of June,” said Shenan Cochrane, vice-chairperson of the Community Policing Forum.

Read: Girl shot nine times during house robbery in West Rand

“We know farm attacks very well here, but this is different. These guys target both black and white people, the rich and poor.”

Cochrane said residents believed members of the gang were high on drugs. They have been dubbed the “Nyaope Gang”.

Just a day before the attack on the teen, a farm worker was shot in the chest by three men he allegedly found robbing his girlfriend in his room. The victim is still recovering in hospital.

Police Major-General Anna Mateisi said there were rumours about a gang operating in the area, “but no conclusive evidence could be found regarding these unsubstantiated allegations”.

“(We) are working around the clock, involving all necessary units to make a breakthrough in the robberies in the Muldersdrift area,” Mateisi said.

On Thursday, Drift Reaction, a local security company, issued a list of 10 armed robberies it responded to over the last month.

According to the list, on October 6 a resident was shot in the foot by three armed suspects who robbed two cottages.

The next day, three suspects robbed a compound. Another house was robbed by three armed men on October 14. On November 1, a resident was assaulted and robbed of his firearm.

This week, Drift Reaction circulated a “red alert” to residents via WhatsApp. “In light of the horrific attack on the 15-year-old girl, as well as other recent serious attacks, we have no choice but to call for a red alert.

Also read: 15-year-old girl shot on Muldersdrift farm

“This means we request the community to go into lockdown as soon as it’s dark.”

Jacques Treptow, the company’s owner, told The Star crime seemed to be getting out of hand in Muldersdrift.

“We’re talking 10 armed robberies in just one month. This is too much.”

He said a gang appeared to be on the loose. “The modus operandi is the same, descriptions (of the criminals by victims) are the same.”

Confirming the girl’s shooting in a statement, Muldersdrift police said they were searching for four suspects.

Warrant Officer Matome Masedi said they had opened a case of house robbery and attempted murder.

Residents claimed the shooting happened in a house inside the luxury Avianto Estate.

One of them lashed out at Avianto owner Trevor D’Oliveira for downplaying the incident in a text he sent to a WhatsApp group. D’Oliveira said in the text that the girl had been shot and wounded at Plot 74, Driefontein.

Speaking to The Star, D’Oliveira maintained the shooting happened on a plot yet to be developed and incorporated into Avianto.

The Star