A South Sudanese lawyer has publicly criticised politicians for fuelling hatred and ‘scaremongering’ in the issue of African gang crime in Victoria.
Police are scrambling to hunt down the offenders of repetitive violent crime across the state – but African community leader Kot Monoah said more needs to be done by federal politicians to find peaceful solutions.
Appearing on Sky News, Mr Monoah, 36, slammed Immigration Minister Peter Dutton for ‘scaremongering’ after he warned Melbourne people were afraid of even going out to dinner in fear of being targeted by gangs.
Mr Monoah – who fled war-torn South Sudan at the age of four – took issue with Dutton’s alarmist comments and said politicians should be working to find solutions instead of feeding public fear.
‘[He is] scaremongering the wider Australian public,’ the African community spokesman said.
Mr Monoah also blamed Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for ‘spreading hate’ after he weighed in on the crime wave and accused Premier Daniel Andrews for ‘growing gang violence and lawlessness’.
‘This is a failure of the Andrews Labor government,’ Turnbull told reporters last week.
The PM said Daniel Andrews’ government was responsible for Apex and Menace to Society gangs terrorising residents following a spate of thuggery across the city’s western suburbs.
A teenager is restrained by several police outside Tarneit Central shopping centre during a series of violent confrontations which resulted in three arrests on Wednesday afternoon
‘We’d like to see a Prime Minister who is a Prime Minister for all and listen to us and find solutions. The Prime Minister is intervening politically, instead of intervening as a federal leader,’ Mr Monoah said.
‘We acknowledge and sympathise with a lot of victims of youth crimes in Victoria,’ he said. We all came here for a better life and it is not the sort of life that we envisage our young children to pursue or undertake as a path.’
The African spokesperson eschewed from referencing the word ‘gang’, instead describing it as a ‘youth crisis’.
‘The current youth crisis has been in the making for the last 14 years,’ he said.
‘We should call a spade a spade but… instead of finding blame… what solutions are we offering?’
Mr Monoah defended a Victoria magistrate’s decision to grant bail to a 17-year-old boy who violently assaulted a police officer in Melbourne, saying the magistrates were ‘doing the best they can’.
He also blamed the federal government for the escalating situation, citing a reduction in allocations to migrant services including employment services.
Most recently, a Melbourne woman was struck across the face and forced to wait in terror as up to 14 men of African appearance ransacked her house during a vicious home invasion.
Police believe the same group also punched and kicked a 16-year-old boy they approached in a vehicle while he walking in Noblebanks Drive at Cairnlea about 12.15am on Friday.