At least 15 killed in South Africa after gunmen open fire on Soweto bar

100722 A body is removed from the scene of an overnight bar shooting in Soweto, South Africa, AP
A body is removed from the scene of an overnight bar shooting in Soweto, South Africa. Credit: AP

At least 15 people have been killed and several others have been left in a critical condition in a mass shooting in a South African bar.

Police say they are investigating reports that a group of men arrived in a minibus and opened fire on some of the patrons at the bar in Johannesburg’s Soweto township shortly after midnight on Sunday.

Those injured have been taken to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

The number of cartridges found on the scene indicates that a group of people opened fire in the bar, said Gauteng province police commissioner Lieutenant General Elias Mawela.

He added that a motive for the attack is not yet known.

“You can see that a high caliber firearm was used and it was shooting randomly. You can see that every one of those people were struggling to get out of the tavern,” Lt Gen Mawela said.

The area where the shooting took place was very dark, making it harder to find people who could identify the suspects, he said.

Rifles and a 9mm pistol were used in the attack, said national police spokesperson Colonel Dimakatso Sello.

A woman weeps at the scene of an overnight bar shooting in Soweto. Credit: AP

In a separate incident, four people were shot dead by unknown gunmen at a bar in Sweetwaters township in the coastal city of Pietermaritzburg on Saturday night.

According to the police, two men entered the bar and randomly opened fire on the patrons, killing two people on the scene while two others were confirmed dead at the hospital.

Police said eight other people are receiving treatment in a hospital. The deceased were aged between 30 and 45 and police are investigating charges of murder and attempted murder.

“The team will be working around the clock to track down and bring to book those responsible for this shooting”, said Kwazulu-Natal police commissioner General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

The bar shootings come two weeks after 21 teenagers were found dead in a tavern in the city of East London.

The cause of those deaths has not yet been announced by authorities, but the teens were not shot nor crushed in a stampede, according to officials.