A mass shooting at a tavern in Johannesburg’s Soweto township has killed 15 people and left others in critical condition, South African police say. Police say they are investigating reports that a group of men arrived in a minibus taxi and opened fire on some of the bar’s patrons shortly after midnight on Sunday.
The number of cartridges found at the site indicates that a group of people opened fire on the bar, said Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, police commissioner for Gauteng province.
“The primary investigation suggests that these people were enjoying themselves here, in a licensed tavern operating at the appropriate hours,” Mawela told The Associated Press.
“Suddenly they heard some shots, that is, when people tried to run out of the tavern. At the moment we do not have all the details of what is the reason and why they targeted these people,” he said. .
“You can see that a large-caliber firearm was used and it fired randomly. You can see that all those people were fighting to get out of the tavern,” he added.
The area where the shooting occurred was very dark, making it difficult to find people who could identify the suspects, he said.
Shiraaz Mohamed / AP
Rifles and a 9mm pistol were used in the attack, said national police spokeswoman Colonel Dimakatso Sello.
In another 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 police, two men entered the tavern and opened fire at random on patrons, killing two people at the scene, while two others were pronounced dead at the hospital. Police said eight other people are being treated at a hospital. The dead were aged between 30 and 45 and police are investigating charges of murder and attempted murder, police said.
“The team will work 24 hours a day to track down and book those responsible for this shooting,” Kwazulu-Natal Police Commissioner General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa condemned the two bar shootings.
“As a nation, we cannot allow violent criminals to terrorize us in this way, regardless of where these incidents may occur,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
Shiraaz Mohamed / AP
“As government, citizens and civil society structures we must all work together even more closely to improve the social and economic conditions of communities, reduce violent crime and eliminate the illicit circulation of firearms,” he said. to say.
The bar shootings come two weeks laterin a tavern in the city of East London. Authorities have not yet announced the cause of those deaths, but the teenagers were not shot or crushed in a stampede, officials said.