Police are on the hunt for suspects after nine people were fatally shot in separate shooting incidents in two provinces of South Africa on Saturday night, police said on Sunday.
The latest slew of shootings come on the heels of an uptick in violent deaths in a country with one of the world’s highest murder rates.
Four people were shot and two more were injured at the Thembelihle informal settlement in the Gauteng province. Preliminary investigation suggests that a group of men were playing dice at a street corner, at approximately 19:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) on Saturday, when they were attacked by unknown assailants who shot at them, the authorities said in statement.
“Four people were certified dead on the scene on Saturday while two people were taken to the nearest medical care center after sustaining gunshot wounds,” the police said.
In another separate incident also at Thembelihle, in the south of Johannesburg, a 36-year-old man who appeared to have been robbed of his belongings, including a cellphone and bicycle was found shot dead, they added.
Police said that the motive for the shootings cannot be confirmed at this stage.
Meanwhile in the Western Cape Province, police have launched an investigation into the circumstances of a triple murder last night in Khayelitsha township. A fourth one was an unrelated incident, Colonel Andrê Traut said.
On Friday, eight suspects linked to the “random” separate shooting and robbery incidents of six people on Thursday night at the Alexandra township in Johannesburg were arrested, officials said.
It was not yet clear whether the suspects in the Alexandra shooting were in the same group that carried out all the killings.
Around 20,000 people are murdered in South Africa every year out of a population of about 60 million.