COPS have apologised for their "slow uptake" after a disturbing video emerged of a boy being pinned down, savagely beaten and stripped naked by a gang.
Police in Manchester insisted the investigation into the sickening attack on June 21 has now been "stepped up" – and vowed to increase patrols.
Horrific footage showed the boy being brutally beaten by a number of people in an alleyway in Oldham.
Blood can be seen pouring from his face as he is pinned down and repeatedly punched and kicked whilst screaming on the floor.
One of the thugs yells "strip him" and his clothes are then ripped off before he is left naked and slumped in a pool of blood on the floor.
It is understood the victim moved to the UK seven months ago.
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The assault was followed by a string of attacks at three properties in other areas of Oldham on Saturday night, cops said.
"Initial enquiries suggest that this has been in retaliation to the video of the assault being circulated online," police said.
Speaking to crowds of concerned residents on Sunday, Inspector Alan Sanders confirmed three people have been arrested over the horror assault – and officers are continuing to hunt the other suspects.
According to Manchester Evening News, he told the crowds: "I know emotions are high and that you feel police have been slow on the uptake with this. I apologise for that.
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"We know things now, following the events of yesterday, that we didn’t know on the 21st. That has changed the urgency and risk and we’ve quite rightly stepped up our investigation.
"We have already made three arrests in relation to this incident and we know there are other in people involved. If we can identify those people, we will also arrest those."
He added: "I would ask that there isn’t any more retribution and disorder – all that does is distract us from the investigation into the initial event.
"You will see more officers on your streets in the coming days to reassure you but also to encourage you to engage with the officers and if you know something, please speak to them because it will help with the investigation."
Oldham Councillor Zahid Chauhan called for more action from police to keep the community safe after the "horrific" crime.
He said: "No violence can be justified.
"Immediate action and prevention from police is needed to safeguard all of us including addressing underlying reasons for a shambolic crime against humanity."
And Councillor Abdul Jabbar, deputy leader of Oldham Council, also called for calm.
He told the crowds: "This a terrible incident and everybody is rightly outraged by it.
"When something like this happens, the community gets rightly angry and wants to find out what’s happened.
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"Are we outraged? Absolutely. Do we want to stop this happening again? Absolutely. The message from me, the council and the police is to be calm.
"We will go after these people and bring them to justice but we need to trust the police to do that."
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