Weekend of Mass Shootings in South Africa
On Sunday, July 10th, 23 people were involved in mass shootings in a tavern in Nomzamo, Soweto. 15 victims of the shooting lost their lives while 8 were admitted to medical facilities with bullet injuries.
The incident shocked a nation that was still grieving the deaths of 21 teenagers at a tavern in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
The violent crime was confirmed by the South African Police Service’s Gauteng Police Commissioner, General Elias Mawela.
He alleges that unidentified men walked into the tavern armed with AK-47s and 9mm pistols and shot at patrons indiscriminately.
“It happened around 12:30 this morning, unfortunately, 12 died on the scene and another one died on arrival at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital and the 14th one also died after admission,” said Mawela early on Sunday. Police are searching for the gunmen, with the motive for the crime unknown at the time of reporting.
Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the scene of the crime on Monday, July 11th. He claimed that over 130 AK-47 bullet cartridges had been found in the tavern.
“It was a group of people involved. We will find their motive when we find them. They intended to come here and do the damage they did,” Cele said.
Mass Shootings in South Africa Contd…
“We are going to deploy Tactical Response Team members to patrol this area. They will be here from tonight. They won’t be removed from here until they complete their task. Their presence will be felt. We want to saturate all the streets here and take them over,” he added.
A witness, who chose to remain anonymous, was present at the tavern during the shooting and described the situation as it unfolded.
They spoke about how lucky they were to have escaped unscathed. The witness and a friend had decided to visit the drinking spot after a long day at work.
He said that he was seated, enjoying himself when the armed men burst into the tavern and began shooting randomly.
“He didn’t say anything and started opening fire. My friend and others at the pool table scattered for cover. He sprayed them with bullets.
I saw them falling to the ground. It was pandemonium. I hid under a table. Four dead people were lying near me. Their blood spilt on me.
After the man with an assault rifle was done, two others carrying 9mm pistols joined and repeatedly fired at people on the floor,” the witness said.
“I know that 14 people were massacred and nine severely injured. I am worried about my safety because one of the shooters saw me.
I need protection. I hope they will be arrested. I don’t know the motive behind the killing,” he said. Unfortunately, his friend was one of the victims who died from the shooting.
Still on the news…
Sweetwaters, in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal Province was the scene of yet another shooting at a tavern. The shooting took place on Saturday, July 9th at around 8:30 pm local time.
According to reports, two men entered the Samkelisiwe tavern and opened fire, resulting in the deaths of four people and the injury of eight others.
At the time of reporting, two arrests had been made with KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi confirming that two suspects linked to the shooting were in police custody. Mkhwanazi indicated that the investigation of the shooting was ongoing and would likely result in further arrests.
Another shooting at a tavern took place in Katlehong, Gauteng Province on Monday, July 11th. It is alleged that four men entered the tavern, and one of the assailants was armed with a pistol.
Two people were shot dead while four others were injured. The police are investigating two cases of murder and four of attempted murder.
Gauteng provincial Commissioner-General Elias Mawela confirmed that the motive for the shooting was a robbery. Mawela said, “Upon further investigations, we now know that the motive for the shooting was robbery. We are yet to make arrests.”
The string of bar shootings has been a cause for concern for South Africans across the country. Though police forces are working to find the assailants, there is work to be done in regards to keeping the South African people safe.