JOHANNESBURG – An intense shooting at a bar in the Johannesburg town of Soweto has killed 15 people and left others in critical condition, according to police.
Police say they are investigating reports that a group of men arrived in a minibus and opened fire on some customers in the bar shortly after midnight Sunday.
The injured were taken to Chris Hani Paragwanth Hospital.
The number of cartridges found at the scene indicates that a group of people opened fire in the pub, said Gauteng Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Muela.
“Initial investigation indicates that these people were enjoying themselves here, in a licensed bar operating within the appropriate hours,” Mawela told The Associated Press.
“Suddenly they heard some gunshots, and that’s when people tried to escape from the bar. We don’t have the full details at the moment about the motive and why they were targeting these people.”
“You can see that a heavy caliber firearm was used and he was shooting indiscriminately. You could see that every single one of these people was struggling to get out of the bar.
He said the area where the shooting took place was very dark, making it difficult to find people who could identify the suspects.
Police spokeswoman Colonel Demakatsu Silo said rifles and a 9mm pistol were used in the attack.
In a separate incident, unidentified gunmen shot dead four people in a bar in the town of Sweetwaters in the coastal city of Pietermaritzburg on Saturday night.
Police said that two men entered the bar and opened fire indiscriminately on customers, killing two people at the scene, while two others were confirmed dead in hospital. Police said another eight people were receiving treatment in hospital. Police said the dead ranged in age from 30 to 45 and police were investigating charges of murder and attempted murder.
“The team will work around the clock to track down and bring those responsible for this shooting,” KwaZulu-Natal Police Commissioner General Nahlanla Mkwanazi said.
The pub shootings come two weeks after 21 teenagers were found dead in a pub in east London. Authorities have not yet announced the cause of those deaths, but the teens were neither shot nor crushed in a stampede, according to officials.
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