Fifteen shot dead in Soweto township bar


A police car parked in front of the bar where the shooting took place in Soweto

At least 15 people have been shot dead in a bar in the South African township of Soweto, police say.

Police said gunmen entered the Orlando East tavern in the early hours of Sunday morning and started firing randomly at a group of young people.

They then fled the scene in a white minibus. No motive for the attack has been established, police said.

Several more people are in a critical condition in hospital, the BBC’s Nomsa Maseko reports.

The victims are believed to be between 19 and 35 years old.

Gauteng province’s head of police, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, told the BBC the shooting appears to have been “a cold-blooded attack on innocent tavern patrons.”

A press statement released by his office said the gunmen had been armed with rifles and 9mm pistols when they entered the bar.

Police are searching for the suspects, whose identities remain unknown, it said.

Four other people were killed in a separate tavern shooting in the south-eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal, police said on Sunday.

Shootings are not uncommon in South Africa. They are often linked to gangs or alcohol.

But this is an exceptionally high death toll and comes soon after the death of 21 teenagers thought to have been either gassed or poisoned at another bar in the city of East London.

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