Gang Culture Rife in Southern Schools

Reporter Janar Akaev spoke to schoolchildren in Osh who either participate in gangs or suffer abuse at their hands.

Gang Culture Rife in Southern Schools

Reporter Janar Akaev spoke to schoolchildren in Osh who either participate in gangs or suffer abuse at their hands.

Tuesday, 28 April, 2009
The gangs extort money which they call “taxes” and beat up classmates who do not pay up.



Interviewees told the reporter that the gangs have a leader dubbed the “locomotive”, who appoints deputies, one of whom will step into his shoes when he leaves school.



One “locomotive” in Osh said he was “elected” by the entire school. It is his team’s job to offer protection when a gang from a rival school turns up.



The city police have launched a campaign to curb the “school racket” this year, and have made a number of arrests. They have also installed hotlines to encourage children to report cases of abuse.



However, this gang culture has become deeply rooted, and many schoolchildren are sceptical that things will change.



One adolescent boy told the reporter that it was his dream to become a “locomotive” one day.



“Your authority increases. You can beat anyone up and make them pay the tax,” he said.

Support our journalists