The ‘ringleader’ of one of Britain’s deadliest gangs has been convicted of two murders during a bloody street war.
Hamza Ul Haq, 25, was part of a group who brutally stabbed 18-year-old Kacem Mokrane to death on November 16, 2017 in Walthamstow, east London.
Just four months later he was implicated in the mistaken murder of Joseph Williams-Torres, 20, who was shot dead after being ambushed while sitting next to a friend in a van.
Both killings were in revenge for the fatal attack on Elijah Dornelly, a 17-year-old member of the Mali Boys gang, in May 2017.
Ul Haq was found guilty of the murder of Mr Williams-Torres and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2020.
And after a three-month trial, he was also convicted of the murder of Mr Mokrane last month.
After Judge Angela Rafferty KC lifted reporting restrictions at the Old Bailey on Monday, it can now be revealed that Ul Haq is at the head of the notorious east London gang.
The Mali Boys run “Britain’s most dangerous road”, the Vallentin Road, and are said to make up to £50,000 a week from drugs.
More than 250 men and women belong to 12 gangs in Walthamstow, with the Mali Boys at the top originally arriving in Britain as children from war-torn Somalia.
Families in the area are said to have been so frightened by the constant violence on the streets that they refuse to leave their homes at night.
Regarded as the “most business-minded, violent and ruthless” gait, the Mali Boys stay off social media to keep their activities private.
This includes using old Nokia phones for everyday activities as they are more difficult to track.
Some gang members are “ex-soldiers”
A rival gang member previously told The Sun: “These people come from countries where there are pirates, where people are raped and beaten up and it’s all happening before their eyes.”
“Some are ex-soldiers who have seen people’s heads blown off. So they feel like they can come and do it here.”
The gang are also known to have used Facebook to monitor police and have used boys as young as 10 to linger at police stations and note the number of officers’ private cars.
A 2019 study of London gangs found that the Mali Boys are an example of groups becoming more organized and ruthless.
Professor Andrew Whittaker of London South Bank University wrote: “Although the Mali Boys may seem like a local phenomenon, there is growing evidence that they are part of a broader development across London as gangs become more organised.”
Commenting on the way they had forged alliances with other gangs as part of their efforts to expand their drug business, another researcher commented: “While the Mali Boys may seem like a local phenomenon, there is increasing evidence that they were part of a larger, societal group.” Development in London as gangs become better organised.
The murder of Jaden Moodie
The gang were responsible for the January 2019 killing of 14-year-old boy Jaden Moodie.
Illustrative CCTV footage showed Jaden, who had ties to a rival gang, being stabbed nine times in a horrific 14-second attack in Leyton, east London.
The gang members had headed into rival Beaumont Crew territory in a stolen Mercedes in what became a “assassination mission”.
Ayoub Majdouline, then 19, pushed Jaden off his scooter before the fatal attack occurred.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 21 years in December 2019.
Five members of the gang were also jailed in January last year after using 3,000 bottles of prescription drugs to conceal large quantities of Class A drugs.
Brian William, Hashi Abdi, Oussema Oubari, Munta Hoque and Azman Ahamad were involved in delivering drugs to Essex and were caught by police on a trip to Essex in September 2020.
A large quantity of Class A drugs was found on the passenger seat of her silver Ford Focus, with other packs thrown from the car before the search.
A later raid at an address in Romford found more drugs, as well as scales, seven cell phones and the medicine bottles.
The five men were sentenced to a total of 16 years in prison.
Abdirisak Ali (26), Luca Griffiths (21) and Kamil Kazmierski (23) were also found guilty of murdering Mr Mokrane in November 2017.
The trio was also linked with the Mali Boys.
The two’s murders came as part of a bloody feud with neighboring Priory Court or the Higham Hill gang.
Mr Mokrane was attacked as he made his way to a local trap house on Higham Hill Road.
Two cars pulled up and ten men got out and chased him down the street. Ul Haq was among those leading the pursuit as the attackers brandished knives, including a “zombie flasher” or “pirate” knife.
Just 25 seconds later, Mr Mokrane was surrounded, pinned against a wall and suffered serious injuries, including disemboweled intestines and a stab wound in the leg. He died four days later.
The court was told that the immediate trigger for the “revenge murder” was an acid attack at Subway and Downtown Pizza in St James, Walthamstow, two days earlier.
Ul Haq and others were sprayed with acid and a friend was stabbed, although they survived after a group of hooded men ran into the shops.
Murders were “revenge attacks”
The jury was told the incident came amid a “series of violent retaliatory attacks” between rival territory gangs The Mali Boys, with whom the 10 attackers were linked, and the Priory Court/Higham Hill gang.
Allison Hunter KC, prosecutor, said, “As a group, they were ruthless and ruthless and quick to seek revenge for any perceived threat to their territorial supremacy.”
“They had become increasingly angry, dangerous and confrontational since the assassination of Elijah Dornelly, which marked the beginning of the violent confrontations of the relevant period.
“Their zeal for swift revenge usually ended in either careless misidentification of their specific target or indiscriminate acts of violence against a member of a rival faction.”
Ul Haq, Ali, Griffiths and Kazmierski are convicted of the June 28 killing of Mr Mokrane at the Old Bailey.
Months later, Ul Haq and two other members of the Mali Boys shot and killed Mr Williams-Torres while he was in a van with a friend.
The attackers misidentified him as a member of a rival gang and then shot him in the chest and legs.
Loic Nengese and a then 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were sentenced alongside Ul Haq.
Nengese was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 21 years and the boy to a minimum of 18 years.