The police minister announced on Monday that police are looking for five assailants who broke into a pub in Soweto, South Africa, and murdered 15 people with at least 137 gunshots over the weekend.

Nine other people were injured in the early hours of Sunday morning shooting, which startled a country with one of the worst murder rates in the world.

Police confirmed a second shooting hours earlier on Saturday in a tavern in Pietermaritzburg, 500km (300 miles) southeast of Soweto, that killed four people and injured eight others; and a third on Thursday during a suspected robbery in a tavern in Katlehong, outside Johannesburg, that killed two people and injured two others.

The three assaults are not thought to be connected.

The deaths sparked public outrage at the police for failing to combat high levels of violent crime.

“It was such a brutality,” Police Minister Bheki Cele told a throng gathering in Orlando East, Soweto. “These people really came to kill and destroy. We don’t know their motive but I guarantee we will find them.”

According to him, the sheer number of shots used in Soweto – forensic experts discovered 137 AK-47 cartridges at the murder site – suggested the assassins would have had to reload while still in the thick of the carnage.

Every year, over 20,000 people are killed in South Africa, which has a population of approximately 60 million people.

According to the advocacy organization Gun Free South Africa, there are around 3 million registered firearms in the nation, with many more suspected to be circulating on the illicit market.

Townships such as Soweto were built under white minority rule, which ended in 1994 but left a legacy of severe poverty, young unemployment, and dissatisfaction.

Source: Reuters

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