South African army deployed to tame Cape Town’s crime menace

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The South African army has deployed troops into townships within Cape Town to combat a worrying upsurge of gang violence.

Police Minister Bheki Cele announced the army deployment, saying the soldiers would work alongside the police in an operation to recover illegal firearms and drugs.

Last weekend, at least 13 people were killed in 24 hours in violence-prone areas of the port city.

Local media attribute the upsurge in gang violence to a turf war between rival gangs.

Minister Cele said the deployment was part of “extraordinary” measures that needed to be taken to ensure public safety.

“We’ll go door to door, we’ll collect every illegal firearm, we’ll collect all criminals that we want, we’ll collect all outstanding criminals that have been on bail and that is happening from two o’clock this [Friday] morning,” Cele told journalists.

The minister added that the planned operation was meant to “stamp the authority of the state.”

He noted that the troops’ deployment would last three months, which would be renewed if necessary.

The army was last deployed to tackle crime in Cape town in 2017.

According to an April report by South African Cities Network, Cape Town ”has the highest rates of murder, robbery and property-related crimes” in the country.

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