Springs community wants army deployed

Police are investigating the 'Basothos' gang who are believed to be behind the deaths of five people.

FILE: Residents of Gugulethu in Springs have appealed to government to deploy the army to the area. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gugulethu residents in Springs have joined police in the search for a gang responsible for the recent murders of five people including a seven-month-old baby.

It's believed the group, known as the "Basotho Gang", has been terrorising people in the East Rand informal settlement.

A man, three women and a mother with her baby were shot dead at a local railway crossing on Easter Saturday.

Police said it's possible the gang members are all illegal miners.

They also suspect that some or all of the murdered women were raped before they were killed.

Community members have accused the gang of targeting residents and say they are desperate to bring an end to the killings.

One man, who only identified himself as a Basotho, says the group is using their cultural name to commit crimes and must stop immediately.

"I am afraid. Those people are dangerous. If the community takes the law into their own hands many people will die."

One woman says she fears for her life.

"Before they kill you, they rape you first."

Residents believe the criminals are living in shacks among them and could attack their next victims at any moment."

Concerned residents have appealed to government to deploy the South African National Defence Force to protect the East Rand informal settlement which they say is riddled with violence.