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At least 19 people were killed and eight others were injured in a couple of shootings at two separate bars in South Africa late Saturday night.
The first shooting occurred around midnight local time, with gunmen targeting customers in a Johannesburg bar, killing 15 people and injuring an unknown number of others. The second shooting saw two men walk into a Pietermaritzburg bar and randomly fire on customers, killing at least four and wounding eight.
“The primary investigation suggests these people were having fun here, in a licensed tavern that operated at the right hours,” Police Commissioner Elias Mawela told The Associated Press of the first shooting.
“Suddenly they heard gunshots, which is when people tried to escape from the tavern. At the moment we don’t have all the details on what the reason is and why they were targeting these people,” he added. . “You can see that a large-caliber firearm was used and it fired randomly. You can see that each of those people was struggling to get out of the tavern.”
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Mawela went on to say that the attackers used a 9mm pistol and rifles in the first attack. It is not known what weapons were used in the Pietermaritzburg attack. The police commissioner of that region said officials are working “around the clock” to find suspects.
The incidents happen about two weeks after 22 teenagers were found dead inside another bar in the coastal city of East London. The teens showed no outward signs of injury, however, and authorities turned to a toxicology lab to determine the cause of their death.
Initial reports suggested that the teenagers may have died in a stampede, but this was later ruled out. The authorities have not yet released the results of the toxicology laboratory.
Local media says the owner of the nightclub, who has yet to be named, could soon be accused of serving alcohol to minors.
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The deceased include at least nine girls and 12 boys. Police found that at least 17 of the teenagers had died when they arrived at the nightclub at around 4am on June 26, while another five died later in the hospital or en route to the hospital.