“A turf war is on-going”: Brussels chief of police fears more shootings due to drug violence
The police chief of the City of Brussels and Elsene has voiced fears of even more shootings due to rising drug violence in the Belgian and Flemish capital. A shooting took place in the Matonge District of Brussels only last Saturday night. Two people were wounded, including for the first time, a passer-by.
Brussels has often been rocked by shootings and other drug violence in recent months and years Brussels media outlet Bruzz reports. Saturday night saw a first uninvolved casualty. A woman was injured after a stray bullet hit her leg. Another person was shot in the ribs.
According to the police zone chief of the City of Brussels and Elsene Michel Goovaerts, there have been fears of civilian casualties for some time. An innocent victim, who was just walking down the street, was hit by a stray bullet. This is something that we deeply regret. There have already been a number of shootings on the territory of the Brussels Capital Region, and I fear that we will not be able to rule out the possibility of more shootings, including in the City of Brussels and Elsene."
Street violence involving drugs is on the rise in Brussels the chief of police says. "This is the case not only in Brussels but also in other major cities. It is a real problem. There is a turf war going on, some gangs are trying to take control of the trade. Fortunately, we possess a Brussels drugs plan that allows us to cooperate with federal police and other Brussels police zones."
There is no trace of the perpetrators of last weekend’s shooting in Matonge, Brussels’ African Quarter, but the investigation is ongoing. "All avenues are open. It could be a quarrel that got out of hand or it could be drug-related. The investigation will have to reveal the truth. For years Matonge has been known for drug-dealing, often cannabis. We now see other types of drugs, such as cocaine and crack, popping up in the neighbourhood and that is something that worries us," says chief of police Goovaerts.