19 People Killed in Mass Shootings at Two South African Bars

15 people were killed in Soweto while 4 were shot dead in Pietermaritzburg. The shootings come just days after a mass burial was held for 21 teenagers who died in a bar in mysterious circumstances.
Dipo Faloyin
London, GB
A relative of one of the victims shot dead in a tavern in Soweto reacts next to the crime scene in Soweto.
A relative of one of the victims shot dead in a tavern in Soweto reacts next to the crime scene in Soweto. Photo: EMMANUEL CROSET/AFP via Getty Images

At least 15 people have been killed in a mass shooting in a bar in Soweto, a northern township in South Africa. 

A group of armed men entered the Orlando East tavern at around midnight on Sunday and shot indiscriminately into crowds of customers. 

According to the police, at least 23 people were shot. The victims are believed to be between 19 and 35 years old. No motive for the shooting has been established, while authorities search for the shooters who quickly disappeared from the scene after the incident. 

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The mass shooting at the Orland East tavern comes amid a spate of recent tragic deaths at South African taverns and nightclubs. The incident happened just hours after four people were shot dead and eight injured in another random attack on customers at a bar in the eastern South African city of Pietermaritzburg. It’s not clear whether the two shootings are linked. 

The regional police commissioner, Elias Mawela, has assured the township that the perpetrators will be found and charged. 

“I have no doubt that with the cooperation of the community here, we will be able to crack this case,” Mawela said in a television interview with local media.  

The shootings in Soweto and Pietermaritzburg happened days after a mass burial was held for 21 teenagers killed in mysterious circumstances in the Enyobeni Tavern in East London, a town in the south of the country. Authorities are still investigating how the victims – aged 13-17 with no physical injuries – died. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed mourners at the funeral and promised that his “government will take action” to protect lives and end this spate of tragic deaths.