Two shootings occurred in two South African cities, still 500 kilometers apart, on Saturday evening and Saturday and Sunday night. In Soweto, near Johannesburg, fifteen people, including two women, were killed by the assailants, who opened fire with large-caliber weapons on the crowd. “who was having fun”while in Pietermaritzburg, in the Zulu region in the east of the country, four people were killed by two men who shot randomly at seated customers.
“We cannot allow violent criminals to terrorize us in this way”, reacted the president of the country, Cyril Ramaphosa, in a press release. These violent deaths are “Unacceptable and disturbing”he added, offering his condolences to the families.
The police were called in the night, around midnight and a half, in Soweto, the largest historic township of Johannesburg, in the southwest of the South African economic capital. “When we got there, twelve people had died from gunshot wounds”Nonhlanhla Kubheka, commander of the Orlando police station, the Soweto district where the tragedy occurred, told Agence France-Presse.
A dozen of the injured were taken to hospital and three of them died shortly after their arrival, he said early in the morning. The victims are young, aged between 19 and 35.
Investigations open, still no arrests
No details are available on the attackers. “They came and shot people who were having fun”described M.myself Kubheka. “According to witnesses, they shot at random” before leaving in a white van, confirmed Elias Mawela, the chief of the regional police.
The police made no arrests, but an investigation was opened. A forensic science team was still on site at noon to gather all possible clues.
Hundreds of people from the neighborhood have been herded behind the lines of the judicial police. The bodies were taken away. In front of the establishment there was only a small sign announcing the prices of beer. Relatives in tears tried to get closer but were picked up by the police.
In the township of Sweetwaters, near Pietermaritzburg, the shooting broke out at around 8:30 pm in a bar and resulted in four deaths and eight injuries, local police spokesman Nqobile Gwala confirmed. “A group of people were having a drink in a tavern and a car parked in front [l’établissement] “, Explained the lieutenant colonel in a statement. “Two men jumped out of the car, entered the bar and opened fire indiscriminately on customers”He added.
Twelve people were affected; two died instantly, followed by two more victims in hospital, Mr. Gwala detailed. The other eight remain hospitalized. The people killed are between 30 and 45 years old; An investigation was also opened.
According to the mayor, Mzimkhulu Thebola, everything happened very quickly. No theft, no talking or arguing. “Every week we learn that people have been killed at random”, commented the elected official, dressed in a jacket in the colors of the ANC, the historic party in power in South Africa. The bar, about twenty kilometers from the center of Pietermaritzburg, is located in a semi-rural area, near a car wash and a liquor store.
These facts come a year after the worst violence experienced by the country since the end of apartheid and the advent of democracy. Initially triggered by the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma, convicted of contempt of court and prosecuted for serious corruption, these riots took place in a tense social and economic climate.
In July 2021, these riots, the massive looting and destruction of industrial sites, mainly in Johannesburg and Kwazulu-Natal province in the east of the country, had killed more than 350 people.
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