Gunmen kill 15 people after shooting ‘randomly’ in South Africa bar
Gunmen have shot dead 15 people and injured nine others in a tavern in the South African township of Soweto, police said.
Armed with rifles and pistols, the gunmen opened fire at people sitting at the Orlando East tavern in the early hours of Sunday.
Three people were critically injured and are being treated in hospital alongside another victim with less serious injuries.
Police said the group entered the bar before « shooting randomly at the patrons ».
The unknown gunmen fled the scene and are now on the run, said police, adding that it wasn’t clear how many were involved in the attack.
The number of cartridges found on the scene indicated it was a group of people who shot at those in the tavern, said Gauteng province police commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela.
He added: « You can see that a high calibre 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. »
South Africa is one of the world’s most violent countries with 20,000 people murdered every year, one of the highest per-capita murder rates globally.
Soweto, near Johannesburg, is the largest of the country’s Black townships.
They were the creations of white minority rule, which ended in 1994 but whose legacy of widespread poverty and youth unemployment persist nearly three decades later.
Local media reported that another shooting in a tavern in Pietermaritzburg, about 500km southeast of Soweto, had killed four people overnight.
A police spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation.
The shooting in the Soweto bar comes 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 announced by authorities, but the teens were not shot nor crushed in a stampede, according to officials.