Boko Haram Bafarasai Mamelodi

Phillip Mnguni was shot and killed on the N4 Highway in Pretoria on Tuesday, 26 October. Photo: Screenshot from video.

Who are Bafarasai? What we know about the breakaway gang that may be behind the ‘John Wick’ murders

The police believe that at least eight murders in Mamelodi, Pretoria since August are related to the ongoing conflict between the Boko Haram gang and a breakaway group called Bafarasai that wants to take over the township.

Boko Haram Bafarasai Mamelodi

Phillip Mnguni was shot and killed on the N4 Highway in Pretoria on Tuesday, 26 October. Photo: Screenshot from video.

Boko Haram – a Mamelodi gang named after the Nigerian terrorist group – is engulfed in a deadly turf war with a breakaway group known as Bafarasai. The man believed who was believed to be the leader of Boko Haram, Phillip Given Mnguni, alias Nkunzi, was shot and killed in East Pretoria on Tuesday, 26 October. It is at least the eighth murder linked to the infighting between the two groups since August, according to the police.


Boko Haram’s iron grip on Mamelodi appears to be loosening. The gang is accused of running several extortion rackets, demanding protection fees from business owners, hijacking construction projects and influencing ward councillors.

“There is no way you can have a business in Mamelodi and not pay them,” said a resident to the Pretoria News in September.

Mnguni’s alleged murder on Tuesday was one of several in which individuals believed to be linked to Boko Haram were shot and killed. Many of the shooting incidents took place in broad daylight and in public view.

READ: Boko Haram ‘most wanted’ gangster dies in hail of bullets on N4 [WATCH]

Pictures and videos of the brazen killings circulated on social media and gave rise to what has quickly become somewhat of an urban legend in Mamelodi. Some residents believe that a vigilante killer who calls himself John Wick is responsible for the gang-related killings.

A Facebook profile named “John Wick” threatened to kill Mnguni, in a post, more than a week ago. Police spokesperson Brigadier Brenda Muridili previously said that residents were wrong about the existence of such a vigilante.

READ: ‘John Wick’ in Mamelodi: Community praises alleged vigilante killings, police dubious

Muridili dismissed the vigilante claims and said the police had linked the recent Mamelodi murders to Bafarasai.

Gauteng Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela appointed a special task team to Mamelodi in late August after two men were shot and killed but the killings did not stop.

In mid-October, members of the Mamelodi West Community Policing Forum (CPF) told EWN that not much had changed since the arrival of the task team.

“Because most of them are not familiar with the territory. They’re not people from Mamelodi, they’re probably still learning about Mamelodi, about who’s who in Mamelodi. I understand that they have the names of the people but they don’t know them,” said the CPF chairperson, Tebogo Mashigo.

In the wake of Mnguni’s alleged murder on Tuesday, Commissioner Mawela said the deceased was “the number one wanted suspect in our investigations into the Boko Haram activities that were happening in Mamelodi.”

There has not, in recent times, been any reports of gang-related murders in Mamelodi since the deployment of the Task Team as well as Visible Policing members,” said Mawela.


Several reports say that the following murder cases are linked to the war between Boko Haram and Bafarasai:

  • 29 August: Two men shot and killed outside the Santorini Club in West Mamelodi, according to the Pretoria Rekord.
  • 13 September: A man, 30, was shot and killed on a street corner in Silverton.
  • 17 September: A man, 30, was shot and killed at a Mamelodi shopping centre.
  • 25 September: A man, 33, was shot and killed at the Mamelodi Heights Hostel. Another man was injured, he has since been discharged from hospital. The hostel was allegedly hijacked by Boko Haram in 2019, according to the Pretoria Rekord.
  • 2 October: A man, 30, was shot and killed in Section K, Mamelodi.
  • 10 October: A man, 39, was shot and killed. A woman was injured and taken to hospital.
  • 26 October: Phillip Mnguni was shot and killed on the N4 Highway. His girlfriend was injured and taken to hospital.

According to News24, the police said all the shootings have been linked to gang fighting but not all of the victims have definite ties to Boko Haram or Bafarasai.

The police say that they have evidence that points to gang rivalry between the two groups being the reason for the murders.  Brigadier Muridili referred to Bafarasai as a breakaway group. The group’s main goal is reportedly to wrest control of the township from the original gang.