JOHANNESBURG: Gunmen opened fire on a group of people celebrating a birthday at the weekend in a township in South Africa, killing eight and wounding three others, police said Monday.
The birthday celebrant was among those gunned down in the mass shooting in the southern port city of Gqeberha, formerly Port Elizabeth.
“The owner of the house was celebrating his birthday when two unknown gunmen entered the yard” on Sunday evening “and started shooting at the guests,” police said in a statement.
The gunmen “randomly shot at guests,” police said, adding “eight people died while three others are still fighting for their lives in hospital. The homeowner is among the deceased”.
The motive of the attack is yet unknown.
Nomthetheleli Mene, the provincial police chief for the Eastern Cape province, condemned the killings as “a blatant disregard for human life”.
An investigation has been launched into the attack and police said a manhunt for the perpetrators was underway.
Shootings are common in South Africa, which has one of the world´s highest murder rates, fuelled by gang violence and alcohol.
South Africa last year saw a string of shootings that killed nearly two dozen at separate bars in working-class suburbs in Johannesburg and in the eastern city of Pietermaritzburg.
Police Minister Bheki Cele, the national police commissioner Fannie Masemola, and crime experts were scheduled to visit the scene of the attack later Monday morning.