CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

Sadiq Khan urged once more to come to neighbourhood hit by stab murders

Silent march will be protest against knife crime next week

15 March, 2018 — By Tom Foot

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

MAYOR of London Sadiq Khan has been urged to finally find a space in his diary to visit the neighbourhoods affected by Camden’s recent knife killings and join a “silent march” against knife crime next week.

Hundreds are expected to join what promises to be a powerful vigil following the borough’s bloodiest night of violence in recent memory. Abdikarim Hassan, 17, and Sadiq Aadam Mohamed, 20, were stabbed to death within little more than an hour of each other, in Kentish Town and Queen’s Crescent three weeks ago. On the same night, a teenager almost died in an attack in Somers Town. In the case of Mr Aadam Mohamed, his death was the third knife murder to hit a single family; his brother Mohamed was killed in Mornington Crescent in September, and his cousin, also called Mohamed, died from a stab wound in 2013.

The stabbings came just a few days after Lewis Blackman, a popular 19-year-old from Kentish Town, had been stabbed to death on a night out in west London. Mr Khan has so far resisted calls for him to visit the area and meet members of the community affected by the stabbings. His deputy, Sophie Linden, has instead been sent to speak to concerned residents. Next week’s march is being organised by a new group, Camden Against Violence, and is being backed by the National Education Union.

Gerald Clark, secretary of the Camden branch of the union, said: “The reason that lots of teachers feel moved by this and want to show solidarity with the families is because most of these young people went to our schools and have taught or do teach their brothers and sisters.” He added: “We know our schools are well organised, we know these children are safe in our schools, but once they leave school they don’t always have that security.” Organiser parent Renee Horsford, from Kentish Town, said her group had reached out to Mr Khan – but had not yet heard back.

None of Camden’s Labour councillors have asked him to visit. When asked by the New Journal whether this meant a visit from Mr Khan would be beneficial and send out a strong signal to the community that the issue was being treated more seriously than ever before, cabinet councillor Abdul Hai said last night (Wednesday): “We have been concentrating on a community response in Camden. It would be great if Sadiq could come, though, and I will follow it up.”

Ms Horsford, who has been out leafleting all week, said that teenagers had been helping make placards at Kentish Town, Queen’s Crescent and Castlehaven youth centres. She said: “It’s all gone really, really well – we’ve been out flyering and the response has been amazing. We’ve been working with the Bengali and Somali communities.” Ms Horsford’s father was Adolphus Horsford who was for many years a well-known senior youth worker at the Thanet and New Horizons youth centres in Camden.

Another of the march’s organisers, Elaine Donnellon, said: “The teachers are absolutely devastated and they are also bereaved. They have difficult jobs, with the schools cuts. At Acland Burghley and Haverstock in particular they have lost so many people. Teachers are not prepared for this. Also for when pupils get imprisoned.” She added: “The level of violence we have seen, it’s not all right just to feel sad for one day and then get on with it. We want to let people know that we are not going to steer clear of saying and doing really strong things now.”

The march will leave Queen’s Crescent at 4.30pm and make its way to Harrington Square, Mornington Crescent, where there will be speeches from campaigners and politicians including MPs Tulip Siddiq and Keir Starmer.

Meanwhile, the Save Our Boys campaign, launched last week, has announced its first “Danger Squad” training session event in Queen’s Crescent Community Centre on April 7. It designed to prepare primary school children for situations including car accidents, fires and finding weapons.

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