Authorities in South Africa have deployed the army to townships in the port city of Cape Town to deal with an upsurge of gang violence.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said the soldiers will work alongside the police in an operation to recover illegal firearms and drugs.
At least 13 people were killed last weekend in one of the violence hit parts of the city.
Cape Town’s gang problem goes back many decades.
Reports have it that, the recent upsurge in violence is due to a turf war between rival gangs, fuelled by retaliation attacks and there is a heavy police presence in Bonteheuwel, Delft, Hanover Park and Philippi East townships.
Mr 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 today and the operation was meant to “stamp the authority of the state”, the minister said.
He defended the deployment, saying the soldiers – who would be “led and commanded” by the police – had also been used to provide security during the May elections.
The army’s current deployment is for three months and can be renewed. “After that, there needs to be sustainability,” he added.