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What Is The Eastside Kunama Group?

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The two people wanted in connection with a shooting on the eastside of Sioux Falls are in custody.

Police arrested a 16-year-old girl and 23-year-old Kotu Suleman, Tuesday night.

Prosecutors say Suleman drove the getaway car after 19-year-old Yona Sama shot a teenage girl in the leg.

Wednesday afternoon, Sama appeared in court on charges of aggravated assault.  His bond is set at $100,000.

There are five suspects total.  Some of the suspects are associated with the Eastside Kunama Group, according to prosecutors. 

It's not a new group to the Sioux Falls Police Department. 

"They've also used other names like Eastside, One True Family, OTK.  There's been different variations, but they always seem to go back to Kunama. They're calling themselves Kunama Gang so that's why we're calling them Kunama Gang as well," Sioux Falls Police Public Information Officer Sam Clemens said. 

If you do an online search, Kunama is a group of people in Ethiopia and Eritrea.  But it's important to remember the gang doesn't represent the people as a whole. 

There's a big distinction between the two. 

"Just because you're a part of the Kunama Gang, doesn't mean you're a part of the Kunama Tribe and we actually have a couple members of the Kunama Gang that aren't from that area at all. They're from a whole different country, whole different region all together. They've used that name and maybe that's unfortunate that they've latched onto that name. We don't know why," Clemens said. 

The police department has identified about 25 people who belong to the group, but there are other gangs in Sioux Falls, too. 

"We've had gangs in Sioux Falls for a number of years," Clemens said.

Clemens says this shooting Monday night was not a gang-on-gang attack. 

He added gangs in Sioux Falls don't have the structure that you might find in other cities.


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