Mamelodi locals nervous after ‘John Wick’ Boko Haram gang shootings

27 October 2021 - 11:00
A man believed to be head of the feared Boko Haram gang was shot and killed on Tuesday afternoon. Stock image.
A man believed to be head of the feared Boko Haram gang was shot and killed on Tuesday afternoon. Stock image.
Image: 123RF/ POP NUKOONRAT

Tshwane residents are calling for law enforcement to establish order after at least 10 fatal shootings linked to Mamelodi’s gang wars.

In the latest assassination, a man believed to be head of the feared Boko Haram gang was shot and killed on Tuesday afternoon. 

Locals are calling the killer “John Wick” after the film franchise featuring Keanu Reeves as a vengeance killer. 

The gang came onto the scene in 2018 when they began collecting “protection money” of R300 and upwards, mainly from foreign-owned shops.

Residents in the Pretoria East township said they are in constant fear over bullets fired near their homes. Mamelodi community police forum (CPF) member Eddie Mnguni said the community was particularly anxious after Tuesday’s killing.

“The community is anxious. The feelings are somewhere between happiness and fear. Some community members who were directly affected [by Boko Haram] are jubilant. Others, especially those in the organisation, are wondering who is next and who is going to be killed.

“The community thinks maybe things will go back normal. For the moment the gang will probably go into hiding but we don’t know who is going to occupy the vacuum [and replace the leader]. The police and CPF need to replace that vacuum and restore order.”

He said the killing came after what was a particular nasty weekend for locals.

“Over the weekend the gang came out in full force to collect money. This time they came with security — heavily armed men.”

He said he could only speculate who “John Wick” was because nobody had information about the man.

Mnguni said he was a professional because the “hit was carried out with a high-calibre rifle with a shot to the head”. 

“As they say, those who live by the gun will perish by the gun.”

This is speculation. People are saying ‘John Wick’ is killing the gang one by one and that there are three others on the hit list.
Abram Mashishi, SA National Civic Organisation chair 

SA National Civic Organisation chair Abram Mashishi said the community has been living in fear as family and friends are killed by gangsters.

“As community leaders we say it cannot be that people are killing people. It is not OK.”

He said an informant told him speculation is that “John Wick” could have been hired by the original Boko Haram boss, who is in jail. Speculation is that the gang boss who was killed on Tuesday had stopped sending money to prison. 

“This is speculation. People are saying ‘John Wick’ is killing the gang one by one and that there are three others on the hit list.”

The recent killings of nine people in Mamelodi have been linked to the Boko Haram gang and breakaway gang Bafarasai, according to police spokesperson Brig Brenda Muridili.

According to sister paper Sowetan, a Facebook account named John Wick Mamelodi recently took responsibility for the killings and vowed to continue the spree.

“Be warned. I want to finish the Boko Haram. I am going to take them down one by one. They touched the wrong territory.”

The account has since been deleted.

Boko Haram has been so influential that the ANC expressed concern it could see another defeat in the area after the local government elections. Transport minister Fikile Mbalula aired these fears at the beginning of the month on the sidelines of a peacemaking mission at the Saint George Hotel in Tshwane.

“There is also an element of thuggery. Thugs have infiltrated the ANC. That is the honest truth. We have funny characters and names and organisations called Boko Haram. What is that?” Mbalula said. 

“The extent of the infiltration [by Boko Haram'], we feel it in the expression of the anarchy, we see that is un-ANC.”

Mbalula said Boko Haram was engaging in acts of sabotage against the ANC campaign process because their candidates had not made the cut. Such acts included staged protests and taking down ANC election posters around Tshwane.

Polo driver shot and killed on N4 'linked to Boko Haram': police

Boschkop police responded to the shooting at midday on Tuesday on the N4 highway near Diamond Hill toll plaza. They have asked residents to help them identify the killer while they look for the silver Mercedes-Benz the killer was driving. 

Muridili said police were told by a witness that a black VW Polo was shot at by the occupants of a silver Mercedes-Benz. The driver of the Polo lost control of the vehicle, which came to a stop not far from the road.

The driver of the Polo was declared dead on the scene, while the passenger, believed to be his girlfriend, was rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds.

Preliminary investigations at the scene identified the deceased as 35-year-old Phillip Given Mnguni.

“The task team established to investigate gang activities in Mamelodi had already linked him to several cases linked to Boko Haram,” Muridili said.

Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela has directed the task team “to continue with the profiling of the deceased and to ensure investigations into all the crimes he was accused of are completed”.

“This particular deceased was the number one wanted suspect in our investigations into the Boko Haram activities in Mamelodi,” he said.

Until Tuesday, Mawela said gang-related murders in Mamelodi had been quelled since the deployment of the task team and visible policing members.

“This indicates the measures we have put in place to stabilise gang-related crime are starting to bear fruits.”

'John Wick is fixing the country'

On social media, some residents praised “John Wick”.

On Facebook  Muneiwa van der Ketye said: “The way 'John Wick' is taking this matter seriously, I think he is also going to punish the cops who failed to protect the citizens of Mams and kept quiet when they knew what Boko Haram was doing and turned a blind eye to it.”

Motsiri Mohale responded: “He is fixing the country.”

“So John Wick is more intelligent than the police. He knows his targets but the police intelligence don’t even know. Why do we have that unit in the first place because they are always reacting to situations,” Van der Ketye said.

Zama Ntseke responded: “Does that 'bearing fruits' line mean the police know the murderer and who owns the Benz? And they are happy about his or her work? [I] am not complaining but before I come forward with all my neighbours about the silver Benz, I need clarity on that.”

Matlokolo Maleka speculated that “John Wick” could be appointed by the military because “he is a well-equipped professional”. 

Maotwana Gamede said whoever he is, he is “doing the Lord’s work”.

Speaking about one of several videos on social media showing the gang member lying dead, Inno Raps said: “Even on the video one of the police confirmed this guy was very problematic and many gangs were looking for him, so good riddance. Let the gangs kill each other. We won’t miss them."

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