At least 15 people have died in a mass shooting in South Africa

At least 15 people were killed and nine others injured overnight in a bar in South Africa when gunmen “accidentally” began shooting in a mass shooting, authorities said.

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

The injured were taken to a local hospital

The number of cartridges found at the scene suggests a group of people opened fire at the bar, according to Gauteng Provincial Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Elias Mawela.

“The initial investigation suggests that these people were enjoying themselves here at a licensed tavern that was open within the correct hours,” Mawela said.

“Suddenly they heard some gunshots as people tried to run out of the tavern. We don’t have full details at the moment as to what the motive is and why they targeted these people.”

“You can see that a high caliber firearm was used and she fired indiscriminately. You can see each of these people were struggling to get out of the tavern,” Mawela said.

He said the area where the shooting took place was dimly lit – making it difficult to find witnesses who could identify the suspects.

Rifles and a 9mm pistol were used in the attack, said National Police spokeswoman Colonel Dimakatso Sello.

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

According to police, two men entered the tavern and opened fire at diners indiscriminately, killing two people at the scene while two others were confirmed dead at hospital. Police said 8 other people were being treated for their wounds. The deceased were between the ages of 30 and 45 and police are investigating charges of murder and attempted murder, police said.

“The team will be working around the clock to find and hold those responsible for this shooting to account,” said Kwazulu-Natal Police Commissioner Gen. Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi.

The two shootings do not appear to be connected, local police said.

“We do not believe the incidents are linked because they happened in different provinces. We are investigating this incident ourselves,” said Nqobile Gwala, police spokeswoman for KwaZulu-Natal, which also includes Pietermaritzburg.

In both shootings, the unknown shooters fled the scene and are now on the run, according to police. It is not clear how many were involved in the attacks or what their motives were.

The bar shooting came 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 released by authorities, but officials said the teenagers were not shot or crushed in a stampede.

With mail wires