At least 15 people were killed at a tavern in Johannesburg’s township. At least 15 people were killed and nine others were injured at a bar in South Africa overnight when gunmen began to fire “randomly” in a mass shooting, authorities said.
Police say they are investigating reports that a group of men arrived in a minibus taxi and opened fire on some of the patrons at the tavern in Johannesburg’s Soweto township shortly after midnight Sunday local time.
Those injured have been rushed to a local hospital
The number of cartridges found on the scene indicates that a group of people opened fire in the bar, according to Gauteng province police commissioner Lt. Gen. Elias Mawela.
“The primary investigation suggests that these people were enjoying themselves here, in a licensed tavern operating within the right hours,” Mawela said.
“All of a sudden they heard some gunshots, that is when people tried to run out of the tavern. We don’t have the full details at the moment of what is the motive, and why they were targeting these people.”
“You can see that a high caliber firearm was used and it was shooting randomly. You can see that every one of those people were struggling to get out of the tavern,” Mawela said.
He said the area where the shooting took place was dimly lit — making it difficult to find witnesses who could identify the suspects.
Rifles and a 9 mm pistol were used in the attack, said national police spokeswoman Col. Dimakatso Sello.
In a separate incident, four people were shot dead by unknown gunmen at a tavern in Sweetwaters township in the coastal city of Pietermaritzburg on Saturday night.
According to the police, two men entered the tavern and randomly opened fire on the patrons, killing two people on the scene while two others were confirmed dead at the hospital. Police said 8 other people are receiving treatment for their wounds. The deceased were between the ages of 30 and 45 and cops are investigating charges of murder and attempted murder, police said.
“The team will be working around the clock to track down and bring to book those responsible for this shooting,” said Kwazulu-Natal police commissioner Gen. Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.
The pair of shootings do not appear to be linked, local police said.
“We do not think the incidents are linked because they took place in different provinces. We are investigating this incident on its own,” said Nqobile Gwala, police spokesperson for KwaZulu-Natal, which includes Pietermaritzburg.
In both shootings, the unknown gunmen fled the scene and are now on the lam, according to police, noting that it was not clear how many were involved in the attacks or their motives.
The bar shootings came two weeks after 21 teenagers were found dead in a tavern in the city of East London. The cause of those deaths has not yet been revealed by authorities, but officials have said the teens were not shot nor crushed in a stampede.
With Post wires