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Fear still grips Manenberg despite police raids

Manenberg residents say they fearful gang violence will erupt again at any time.

Police and soldiers descended in Manenberg during their Operation Fiela to search for illegal goods, weapons and drugs on 21 May 2015. Picture:@SAPoliceService

CAPE TOWN - Many Manenberg residents say despite a massive police-led operation in the area, they remain fearful gang violence will erupt again at any time.

Backed by the defence force, law enforcement agencies moved into the gang-plagued area on Thursday morning with full force.

The raids form part of government's interventionist strategy, Operation Fiela, to search for illegal goods, illegal weapons and drugs.

Fourteen people have been arrested on charges relating to the possession of drugs and firearms.

Police confiscated three firearms and nabbed several members affiliated to two of Manenberg's most prominent gangs, The Hard Livings and The Dixie Boys.

The initiative was launched several weeks back, partly in a bid to defuse xenophobic tensions.

When gun shots ring out from the streets of Manenberg, the children in their homes already know the routine.

"These kids shake and say 'ma I'm going to get under the bed', everybody must just lay flat."

During running gun battles between the Americans and the Hard Livings, Manenberg residents are too scared to leave their homes, but locked doors don't offer much protection.

Last week, stray bullets penetrated Cynthia Davids' walls, while one bullet is lodged in her front door.

"That bullet came through that door but thank God the bullet just stayed there."

Community group, the Manenberg Safety Forum says it's trying to broker a peace deal between gangs.

Lobby group, the Lawyers for Human Rights, has reiterated it believes Operation Fiela is problematic.

But it's came under fire with some labelling it anti-foreigner. The lobby group's lawyer David Cote says this operation isn't carried out properly.

"Our concerns with Operation Fiela is that we're concerned that it's not being supervised by court, that the police aren't seeking search warrants necessary in order to properly search people's homes and that they are using their own special provisions to conduct this raids, which makes it problematic."