Toll in Johannesburg’s bar shooting rises to 15: Official

The toll of a random shooting that happened early Sunday at a tavern in Johannesburg’s Soweto township has risen to 15 after one more person succumbed to injury, a police said on Sunday.

It is alleged that gunmen got off a minibus taxi, entered the tavern, and then shot at people inside, Faith Mazibuko, Head of the Provincial Department of Community Safety, told reporters outside the tavern or pub.

“Currently, it is confirmed that 15 people have passed on,” she said.

A group of men armed with rifles and 9mm pistols entered the tavern at around 12:30 a.m. (Saturday), and started shooting randomly at customers who were sitting inside, killing 12 people on the scene and injuring 11 others, the police said earlier in a statement.

The victims are estimated to be aged between 19 to 35 years and the police are still investigating the incident. The tavern is legal and the incident happened during its operating hours, Xinhua news agency reported.

In a live interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), Mazibuko said that authorities “don’t know if they (assailants) are trying to provoke the situation or what is happening”.

They were “unprovoked” as they came into the tavern, and didn’t take any money or anything else, she added.

It was not the first shooting of this kind in Soweto, as a similar incident happened in 2019, Police Commissioner of Gauteng, Elias Mawela told local television eNCA.

The highly urbanised Gauteng province is where Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city is located.

Gauteng faces such issues where assailants roaming around the street target people randomly.

On Saturday, a shooting incident in the province also killed three people and injured one, he said.

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