Editor's Comment

Gangsters must fall

THE apparent increasing number of criminal gangs in our communities is a cause of concern, especially on the Copperbelt and Lusaka.
In what appears to be a contest for notoriety, the latest of the gangs, 90 Niggas, has since struck in Kitwe, where it is reigning terror among residents of Bulangililo.
The residents have given moving testimonies of how they have been mistreated by the gang members, who have instilled fear among the law-abiding citizens.
This gang has emerged in the wake of another group calling itself Sons of the Devil, which, too, has been terrorising innocent residents.
Another group, still in Kitwe, calling itself Tokota, was on the scene, carrying out its criminal activities in Ndeke.
In Lusaka, particularly in Mtendere, a group calling itself Fluffy took charge in some parts of the community with its criminal activities.
Not too long ago, there was another criminal gang, the 16 Boys, which terrorised residents of Kamwala, Kamwala-South, Libala-South and Hillview as well as the Tokyo Way corridor.
This is unacceptable and must be countered promptly and decisively. All law-abiding residents should enjoy their rights and freedoms without being hindered.
No-one should worry about their freedom of movement at any time of the day or night. No-one should live in constant fear of their school-going children being harassed by hoodlums. No-one should sleep with one eye open in dread of their home being raided.
Law-breakers should never ever be in charge of the community. Any signs of the pendulum swinging in favour of thugs should trigger a strong reaction of law enforcers, who must ensure that they maintain the upper hand.
The thugs should never gain any measure of authority in the community. Those who instil fear or terror in others should never be spared by the law. No-one is a law unto themselves.
Laws are made for the greater good of the community – to protect life and property – and so the onus is on the respective communities themselves to put up defensive shields.
The starting point to rid townships of the criminal activities rests with members of the communities themselves. The gang members live within the same communities they terrorise. They are children or relatives of the members of the community, and they are known.
This is why they are able to study the movement patterns or habits of their victims before pouncing on them.
We are also cognisant of the fact that criminal gangs can cause havoc in communities they do not belong to.
At the same time, we know that the police, with their investigative instincts, always have an idea of the individuals behind the criminal activities.
It is therefore incumbent upon the community members to take the first step of reporting any criminal elements which are being harboured in their communities. This information can be useful to the police in clamping down on thieves.
Each member of the community has the duty to protect their neighbour and this is one way of doing so.
It is good that the police have arrested some suspects, who are now in the courts of law. We pray that the prosecution have tight cases and will secure convictions.
The outcomes of these cases should help deter other youths from thinking that anti-social behaviour is rewarding.
What the communities should strive for, too, is to help these youths take the right paths to adulthood. The youths must be guided into activities that are useful for them today and in future.
A multi-pronged approach to countering gang warfare, coupled by determination, should produce the desired results.
Let the communities play their part of being vigilant and counselling their youths; the police arresting those that cross the line of civility; and the courts dishing out appropriate sentences and correctional institutions reforming the culprits.

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