Posted on February 24, 2009

Boy, 16, Arrested in Gangland Killing As Friends of Second Knife Victim Warn of ‘Race War’ Between Somalis and Afghans

Charlotte Gill and Matt Sandy, Daily Mail (London), February 21, 2009

A 16-year-old boy has been arrested in connection with the murder of a teenager who was one of two knifed to death in London, police said today.

Michael Wright was found with fatal stab wounds outside a train station in an apparent gang killing on Thursday.

The Metropolitan Police said a 16-year-old suspect was in custody at an east London police station.

The forced added that a woman in her 30s had also been arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and was in custody.

The 17-year-old was one of two teenagers who were stabbed to death within hours of each other in a night of bloodshed on London’s streets.

Michael was attacked in Leytonstone Road, opposite Maryland rail station in east London, at about 10.30pm. He died at the Royal London Hospital shortly after being found.

His friends, many hiding their faces with scarves or hoods, gathered at the scene yesterday to lay flowers and pay their respects as a large number of police looked on.

Bleir Xhana, 26, who runs a bar yards from where the incident happened, said: ‘A customer walked in and said they saw a black guy just lying there on the zebra crossing near the station.

‘I didn’t know what had happened to the boy but I was horrified and afraid.

‘To be honest it is quite dangerous round here.’

The dead man’s brother also visited the scene yesterday to lay flowers.

He said: ‘I have no idea why it happened or why he was stabbed–no one was after him.

‘He was a very popular nice lad and we were tight. I’m proud of my brother and I am just gutted.’

The attack on Michael Wright came just three hours after 19-year-old Kul Hawalied was stabbed to death in a separate incident in Wealdstone, north-west London.

The university student was knifed in the chest by a group of thugs in a suspected gang war between Somlais and Afghanis.

Mr Hawalied, from north-west London, was treated by paramedics but was pronounced dead at the scene. Another teenager was also injured.

The earlier killing happened at 7.30pm as Mr Hawadleh and an 18-year-old friend stopped at a service station in Wealdstone, north west London.

As the pair, who are both Somali, got out of their car, four or five youths on the other side of the road saw them and came over to confront them.

They knifed Mr Hawadleh and his companion before fleeing on foot.

Mr Hawadleh died at the scene while his friend is in a stable condition in hospital.

A friend of the two men, Abdul Hassan, 22, said that the pair were attacked in a race gang war by Afghanis.

He said: ‘I’m sure the guys who killed Hassan didn’t know him, they are just targeting any Somalis.

‘There was a stabbing on Wednesday, and then yesterday afternoon two of my other friends got ran up to by a gang of guys in bandanas.

‘They are all Afghan or black and they are targeting Somalis.

‘Hassan was not involved in anything like this, there is no reason he would be targeted. Everyone loved the guy.’

Mr Hawadleh moved to the UK with his family when he was one year old and was studying media at the University of East London.

He was one of eight siblings. His sister Ubed said: ‘We don’t know why he got stabbed, I don’t know why anyone would want to hurt him.

‘We have a real problem in society today–stabbing has just become the norm–it has replaced fist fighting. People’s lives are no longer valued.

‘Hassan was not the sort of person to get involved in any fighting. He wasn’t the sort of boy to hang out in gangs, he was a sensible character.’

His brother, Yonis, 29, said: ‘He had a real zest for life. He really wanted to go into the media business and travel around the world.

‘He was never in trouble with the police. He just wasn’t like that. He was with his mates from uni going to play football.

‘He didn’t know the people who attacked him. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We’re not sure if his friends knew them, we don’t know anything more.’

Another friend, 23-year-old Issaq Soul, said: ‘There is a war going on between the Afghans and the Somalis.

‘The tension has been building. They want to call the shots around here. They are completely lawless. But Kul wasn’t caught up in all that.’

There have been no arrests in either case.

The two deaths bring the total of teen killings in London to three this year. Last year, 28 teenagers were killed in the capital.

Police are appealing for witnesses to Mr Hawalied’s killing.

Anyone with information should call the incident room on 020 7321 9251 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.