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At least 19 people were killed and eight others were injured in shootings at two different bars in South Africa late Saturday evening.
The first shooting occurred around midnight local time, when gunmen fired at a bar in Johannesburg, killing 15 people and injuring an unknown number of others. During the second shooting, two men entered a bar in Pietermaritzburg and opened fire indiscriminately on patrons, killing at least four and injuring eight.
“The initial investigation suggests that these people were having fun here, in a licensed tavern operating at the right time.” Police Commissioner Elias Mavela told The Associated Press about the first shooting.
“Suddenly they heard some shots, that is, when people tried to run out of the tavern. At the moment, we do not have full information about what is the motive and why they targeted these people, ”he added. “You can see that large caliber firearms were used and they fired randomly. You can see that each of these people was struggling to get out of the tavern.”
Mavela went on to say that during the first attack, the attackers used a 9mm pistol and rifles. It is not known what weapons were used in the attack on Pietermaritzburg. The region’s police commissioner said officials were working “around the clock” to find suspects.
The incidents occur about two weeks after 22 teenagers were found dead in another bar in the coastal town of East London. However, the teenagers showed no outward signs of injury, and authorities contacted the toxicology lab to determine the cause of their death.
Initial reports suggested that adolescents could die in a crush, but this was later ruled out. Authorities have not yet released the results of the toxicology lab.
Local media says the nightclub owner, who has yet to be named, could soon face charges for serving alcohol to minors.
Among the dead were at least nine girls and 12 boys. Police found at least 17 teens dead when they arrived at a nightclub at around 4 a.m. on June 26, and five more later died in the hospital or on their way to the hospital.