Members of the Boko Haram gang in Pretoria have been let off the hook this week, after two criminal complainants dropped their cases against a pair of suspects. The outfit, named after – but not affiliated with – the African terrorist group has been running a campaign of fear and intimidation on the city streets.

The Pretoria ‘Boko Haram gang’ explained – extortion and intimidation in Mamelodi

Two 37-year-olds were set to face court proceedings for theft, trespassing, and fraud. The Boko Haram gang is, allegedly, running a large-scale extortion ring in Mamelodi where money is extorted from foreign tuck-shop owners. Those who have scored tender deals with the government, and other local businesses, are also in the firing line.

The classic protection racket has deep roots in this part of Pretoria, and they’ve successfully been able to avoid meaningful retribution over the past few years. The recently-dropped case was seen as one of the best chances to bring Boko Haram to book. On Saturday, a protest march took place in Mamelodi, in the hope it would heap pressure on the gang.

Top cops bemoan case withdrawal, blaming suspects for ‘paying off the witnesses’

However, it wasn’t to be. The collapse of the criminal case will, for the time being, allow Boko Haram to operate with impunity. Deputy Gauteng provincial commissioner for crime detection, Major-General Johan Ndlovu, addressed a local community safety meeting on Friday. He told the digital forum that some witnesses had been ‘paid off’ by the suspects.

“We checked what it was about the withdrawal of those cases. We found that the witnesses or complainants were paid some money by the suspects and then they went to court and withdrew the cases.”

Major-General Johan Ndlovu

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Presh JM Reporter

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