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19 dead in South African bar shooting

#dead #South #African #bar #shooting

Nineteen people are dead after gunmen fired indiscriminately at patrons in two bars in South Africa in separate incidents described by the President as “unacceptable and worrying”.

In Soweto, 15 people – including two women – were killed enjoying a night out, police said, when attackers pulled up in a minibus taxi and fired indiscriminately at drinkers with large caliber weapons.

Four people were killed and eight injured at a bar in the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal province, when two men shot customers indiscriminately.

Shootings are commonplace in South Africa, a country with one of the highest homicide rates in the world, fueled by gang violence and alcohol.

But the similar modus operandi in the weekend’s killings has puzzled investigators.

“As a nation, we cannot allow violent criminals to terrorize us in this way, regardless of where such incidents occur,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a statement.

The violent deaths were “unacceptable and worrying,” he added, expressing condolences for the lives lost in “similar circumstances” in Soweto and Pietermaritzburg.

– ‘shot by accident’ –

In Soweto, Johannesburg’s largest township southwest of South Africa’s economic metropolis, the police were called to the scene shortly after midnight.

When they arrived, “12 people were found dead with gunshot wounds,” police officer Nonhlanhla Kubheka told AFP.

Eleven people were taken to the hospital, three later died from their injuries.

The dead were between 19 and 35 years old, provincial police chief Elias Mawela told AFP.

“According to witnesses, they fired indiscriminately,” Mawela said.

No arrests have been made and details of the attackers have not been released.

“They came and shot people who were enjoying themselves,” said Kubheka, commander of the Orlando Police Station in the Soweto neighborhood where the shooting took place.

Hundreds of people gathered behind police cordons as police conducted investigations, AFP journalists reported.

Only a small poster with the beer prices at the bar could be seen outside the pub located between houses.

Police led away crying relatives of those involved in the drama who tried to approach the scene.

The colorful Soweto Towers, a popular bungee jumping spot for tourists, stand out in the background.

– bloodstains –

In Pietermaritzburg, four people between the ages of 30 and 45 were killed and eight injured on Saturday night, police spokeswoman Nqobile Gwala said.

Two men pulled up, entered the bar and “fired random shots at patrons” before fleeing, Gwala said. Two died at the scene, the other two at the hospital.

According to an AFP reporter on the ground, the attack happened at a tavern in a semi-rural area 20 kilometers (12 miles) from Pietermaritzburg, near a car wash and liquor store.

Local Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebola said the attack was over very quickly.

“Every week we get news from people who have just been shot at randomly,” says Thebola, who is wearing a bright yellow winter jacket, the colors of the ruling African National Congress.

An AFP correspondent saw bloodstains on the floor in front of the bar.

The killings come exactly two weeks to the day after the mysterious deaths of 21 people, mostly teenagers, under unclear circumstances at a township tavern in the southern city of East London last month.

The latest shootings also come a year after the worst violence the country has seen since the end of apartheid brought democracy three decades ago erupted.

Last July saw large-scale rioting and looting, looting of shops, a wave of arson attacks and attacks on infrastructure and industrial warehouses, resulting in more than 350 deaths and several thousand arrests, with the country already being hit by a major Covid-19 outbreak -wave was hit.

Most of the unrest occurred in Johannesburg and KwaZulu-Natal as people protested the sentencing and imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma was convicted after refusing to testify on corruption charges during his tenure from 2009 to 2018.

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