Six ‘gangsters’ killed in South Africa vigilante attack

JOHANNESBURG - Six people were killed Sunday when residents of a township on the outskirts of Johannesburg attacked a group of suspected gang members, South African police said.

Some of the victims were burned alive and two were stoned to death by groups of vigilantes who struck after 400 men living in the township met to discuss the problems caused by local gangs.

"One of the groups attacked a traditional healer, setting fire to him and his house. He died of his injuries," said provincial police spokesman Neville Malila on Monday.

Two other suspected criminals were burned alive and a sixth was "found on Sunday night, he had been burned," said Malila.

Residents of Khutsong, which lies southwest of Johannesburg, threw stones at police vehicles on Sunday but Malila said the situation was "calm" on Monday.

Residents of South Africa's townships frequently take justice into their own hands, frustrated by what they see as the failure of the country's police and justice system to tackle crime.

"Vigilante acts are never justified, and the perpetrators of these crimes will feel the full force of the law," Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said Monday.