Warning on African refugee gangs
POLICE in Melbourne fear the emergence of militant street gangs of young African refugees who have served in militia groups in their war-ravaged homelands.
A growing gangster mentality among young African men is worrying community leaders, who blame boredom, unemployment and drugs for turning young immigrants living in Melbourne's inner north towards violence and crime.
Police sources have told The Australian that while gang-related activity had not reached epidemic proportions, "it is a serious concern".
Young African leader Ahmed Dini said some Somali, Sudanese and Eritrean men, predominantly aged between 16 and 25, felt disconnected from mainstream society and were either forming or joining ethnic groups for protection and also for a sense of belonging.
He said they mainly lived in housing commission estates in the city's inner north - Flemington, Ascotvale and north Melbourne - and some had trained with heavy-duty military weapons while they were serving in militias overseas.
"Some of them have used rocket launchers and grenades," said Mr Dini, who is chairman of the community-based youth network Saygo.
He said the migrants were haunted by childhood images of killings, torture and rape, and were constantly on edge.