A mass shooting inside a South African bar resulted in at least 15 deaths on Sunday (July 10). According to NPR, authorities of the Soweto township said a total of 24 people were wounded. Nine of those victims suffered non-life threatening injuries.
Gauteng Police said a group of men entered the Orlando East tavern located in the Nomzamo informal settlement just after midnight. The group was said to have been armed with rifles and 9-millimeter pistols. The gunmen, believed to be at least two men, randomly took aim at 12 people who died at the scene. Twelve others were rushed to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital for treatment. Two of those victims were declared dead upon arrival.
“It’s a bad scene,” Police Commissioner Elias Mawela told South African news channel ENCA of the shooting. “When you see the bodies [that] are piled up, you can see that every one of those people [was] struggling to get out of the tavern.” Victims range in age from 19 to 35.
Witnesses claim to have seen the men exit a minibus taxi before unleashing rounds of gunfire at unsuspecting individuals. At this time, a motive is not yet known, and the suspected gunmen remain on the run. “As a nation, we cannot allow violent criminals to terrorize us in this way, regardless of where such incidents may occur,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in a statement.
A similar shooting also took place on Saturday (July 9) in the city of Pietermaritzburg, Independent Online news reported. The city is located 315 miles away from Soweto. Two men reportedly exited a Volkswagen with Pietermaritzburg license plates.
They entered Samkelisiwe Tavern and wounded 12 people. Eight of those injured remain hospitalized. Two victims were killed at the scene, and two others died in the hospital. Authorities have not stated if they believe the missing gunmen are responsible for both shooting incidents.