Al-Qaeda Free State

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Al-Qaeda in the Free State? Confusion arises from alleged gang conflict

Police recently found two bodies in Welkom, Free State and although they may have been linked to Al-Qaeda, it’s not what you think.

Al-Qaeda Free State

Image via: Adobe Stock

Following a statement from the South African Police Service (SAPS), there could be some confusion as to whether Al-Qaeda is present in Welkom, Free State. It began when the bodies of two men were found in Jan Hofmeyer road, Welkom at about 21:00 on Friday 5 February 2021. 

The police were notified about the bodies and rushed to the scene. Upon arrival, the bodies were found lying on the tar road facing up with visible multiple open stab wounds. They were later certified dead by the emergency personnel at the scene.


After a preliminary investigation by Welkom SAPS members, the two deceased men were identified by their next of kin and friend as 29-year-old Tsiu Motaung and 40-year-old Linda Mohlongo.  

The investigation further revealed that the two deceased victims were believed to be members of the “Fireboys” or “Al Qaeda” criminal gang.

Brigadier Motantsi Makhele said the criminal gang named themselves after Al-Qaeda or would call themselves the Fireboys. He went on to say that they allegedly had a clash with the International Junior Portuguese (IJP) members which left two victims dead.

The investigation into this matter was assigned to Sergeant Tsie Matlokotsi of Welkom SAPS Detective Unit. Community members with information that may assist in tracing the suspects may contact him at 078-758-5658. 

Free State Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Baile Motswenyane is making an appeal to community members to join hands in eradicating criminal gang activities in their midst. 

“These criminal activities are not static as they overflow to other communities where more murders might be due to revenge attacks which may affect innocent law-abiding citizens,” said Motswenyane.


Apart from the Al-Qaeda gang in Welkom, members of the Johannesburg Central Crime Intelligence were on Monday morning 8 February 2021, following up on information of drug dealing at a residential complex in Winchester Hills in the Booysens policing precinct when they stumbled upon rifles, shotguns and more. 

The team spotted two vehicles of interest pull up next to each other in the parking lot at the complex and executed a take-down, arresting one suspect after witnessing a transfer of unknown parcels from one vehicle to the other. The second suspect fled and evaded arrest.

An on-site investigation led police to a flat where they searched and recovered two AK-47 rifles, an LM-5 Rifle, three shotguns, two Ruger rifles, and a revolver. Bullet-proof vests, security dashboard lights, ammunition, teargas and smoke canisters, a practice hand grenade, form part of the items seized for further investigation.

Image via: SAPS

Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said all relevant crime scene management roleplayers were summoned to the scene and the multidisciplinary team confirmed that the parcels that were moved between the suspects’ vehicles contained; an undisclosed amount of cash suspected to be the proceeds of drug sales; as well as five bags whose contents will be determined pending forensic analysis.

Further investigations are underway and will be led by the Directorate Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks).

Lieutenant General Mawela said; “The recovery of such high calibre firearms suggests that the suspects could be involved in much more than just drug-related crime. The investigating team must leave no stone unturned towards apprehending the sought suspect and their accomplices as we believe that more suspects may be involved”.