(JollofNews) – The Gambian family of an 18-year-old murder victim has made an appeal for an end to the “no grass” culture they believe has prevented the teenager’s killers being caught.
Student Yusuf Sonko was shot dead in Liverpool in June but police are yet to charge anyone over his murder.
His mother Khadija Sonko believes gun crime is worsening in the city due to a code of silence among teenage gangs.
She spoke out after figures revealed a sharp rise in gun crime in Merseyside.
Mrs Sonko, who works for a homelessness charity, told BBC Inside Out North West: “We need to come together and we need to fight this and we need to speak to our children. We need to say this is no good, this is not allowed.”
She said the family lived in hope that someone out there has information that will help catch her son’s killers – but only if they decide to come forward.
“If you really know about what happened to Yusuf, I’m sure somebody knows, please, please go tell police. And see justice done for Yusuf.”
Image copyright Merseyside Police Image caption Yusuf Sonko was due to sit his final A-level exam when he was killed
Speaking during a recent community march in memory of Yusuf, his sister Abby said: “If you know your child was there, encourage them to do the right thing and go to the police.
“Forget that ‘no grass’ culture. You need to speak up.”
Father Papa Sonko said: “You don’t have to be scared because the police are not stupid to give your name publicly to let the killers know you.
“Go out today, do the right thing, tell the police what you know.
“[Gun crime] will continue until we all come together to say you enough is enough. Let’s try and stop these guns on the street. Let’s make the children believe there is a better life for them.”
Yusuf was found shot in Tagus Street, Toxteth, on the evening of 2 June.
Described as “polite, kind and humble”, he was due to sit his final A-level exam and had hoped to study business at university.
Detectives believe he may have been inadvertently caught up in a dispute between rival groups.
However, he was not thought to have been personally involved and his father says officers told him he was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”.
A 21-year-old man and 17-year-old boy were arrested on suspicion of murder but later released while the investigation continues.
Merseyside Police recorded 91 shootings over the 2016-17 financial year. These resulted in 34 injuries and four deaths, with a further two deaths since April this year.
The previous 12 months saw 61 shootings and two deaths.
The force also said it had recovered 74 firearms believed to be linked to crime so far in 2017, which has doubled from the 37 found over the same period last year.
In total, the region has seen 31 shooting-related deaths over the past decade, with numbers generally fluctuating from year to year.
Courtesy of BBC