Unrelated tragedies occurred a few hours apart in popular nightspots
At least 18 people have been killed and several injured in two mass shootings in South Africa on Saturday evening and in the early hours of Sunday, local police have confirmed.
One incident occurred at a local tavern in Johannesburg’s Soweto township just after midnight. According to the office of Gauteng Police Commissioner, “a group of men armed with rifles and 9mm pistols entered the tavern and started shooting randomly at the patrons who were sitting inside.”
As a result, twelve people were declared dead at the scene and two died later.
Nine people have been injured.
“The police opened 14 cases of murder and nine of attempted murder,” law enforcement said, adding that a “team of detectives” is now looking for the unknown gunmen.
According to police’s estimates, the casualties were aged between 19 and 35.
Media reports suggest that the attackers fled in a white Toyota Quantum minibus.
Just a few hours before the tragedy in Soweto, at 20.30 local time, two gunmen opened fire in a tavern in Pietermaritzburg, the capital city of KwaZulu-Natal province.
“Two people were declared dead at the scene and the other two died in hospital. Another eight people are still in hospital after they sustained injuries. The suspects fled the scene after the incident,” police spokesperson Lt-Col Nqobile Gwala said in a statement, adding that the investigation is ongoing.
The age of the victims in this instance ranged between 30 and 45 years old.
The tragedies came two weeks after more than 20 young people were killed in a suspected mass poisoning in a popular nightclub in the coastal city of East London. The cause of that tragedy is still unclear. The youngest victim in that incident was a 13-year-old girl.