Durban — Seventeen people, including children, were shot dead in KwaZulu-Natal in less than 24 hours in five separate incidents.
Police ministry spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said two suspects were arrested for the mass murder that left 10 family members dead in Pietermaritzburg in the early hours of Friday.
Themba said according to police reports, armed men entered a house in iMbali township and shot dead 10 family members including a 13-year-old boy.
She said hours after the attack, less than 2km away, a shoot-out ensued when police confronted four men participating in a “cleansing ceremony” conducted by a traditional healer.
“Police arrested two of the four suspects, one is under police guard in hospital after sustaining injuries during the shoot-out with police. One suspect escaped while another was fatally shot; a criminal linked to numerous other crimes in the area and had been sought after by police. Three firearms were also found at the scene,” Themba said.
In an incident on Thursday afternoon, four people were shot dead in a house in KwaMashu.
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said police were investigating four counts of murder.
“It is reported that the four deceased were sitting together in one room when suspects, believed to be four, entered the room and opened fire at them. Two of the deceased are brothers who lived in the house, one was a neighbour and the other was a friend who had visited from Phoenix, reportedly a night before.
“The suspects reportedly fled the scene in a vehicle belonging to the deceased who had visited. The motive of the shooting is unknown and a manhunt for the suspects has been launched and investigations to establish what could have led to the killings are under way,” Netshiunda said.
Earlier, three separate shootings claimed the lives of three people.
Also on Thursday afternoon, a pupil was shot dead on her way home from school.
IPSS Medical Rescue and IPSS Security responded to reports of a shooting in the Ntshawini area near Stanger.
IPSS Medical Rescue managing director Dylan Meyrick said on arrival it was found that a Grade 8 pupil, on her way home from school, had sustained a single fatal gunshot wound. Sadly there was nothing that medics could do and she was declared on scene.
Meyrick said it was believed that a single suspect was involved.
Police spokesperson Constable Thenjiswa Ngcobo said KwaDukuza police were investigating a murder case after a 17-year-old pupil was reportedly shot dead.
“It is alleged that the victim was coming from school when she was approached by an unknown man, who fatally shot her before fleeing the scene on foot. The motive for the killing is unknown,” Ngcobo said.
About an hour later, a man believed to be a taxi boss was gunned down at an intersection in Verulam.
Police spokesperson Colonel Robert Netshiunda said Verulam police were investigating a murder case following an incident in which a man was reportedly fatally shot at the intersection of R102 and Kissoon Road in Ottawa, Verulam, on Thursday afternoon.
He said the motive for the killing was unknown.
Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) spokesperson Prem Balram said they received multiple calls from the public from 2.09pm.
He said several callers reported that two occupants of a white VW Polo drove up to the deceased’s white Ford Ranger bakkie.
“The passenger exited the VW Polo and opened fire on the bakkie with an R5 rifle. The vehicle and the deceased were struck multiple times,” Balram said.
He said all available reaction officers were dispatched to the scene and on arrival discovered the driver slumped in his seat.
“He had sustained multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body. His 9mm pistol was recovered in his holster attached to his pants. Several spent high-calibre cartridges were recovered at the scene,” Balram said.
He said the victim was confirmed to be a taxi boss from Ndwedwe, northern KwaZulu-Natal.
In the morning, a man was shot dead in a shooting incident on the M7 after Main Road before 10am on Thursday.
ALS Paramedics Medical Services spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said the service arrived on the scene to find total carnage.
Jamieson said it was believed that a single vehicle was involved in a shooting incident before overturning across the centre island and coming to rest on its side.
“A man believed to be in his forties was found inside the vehicle with multiple gunshot wounds to his body. He was assessed by paramedics however he had sustained fatal injuries and there was nothing more paramedics could do for him and he was declared dead on the scene,” Jamieson said.
Netshiunda said police were investigating a case of murder after a man, believed to be a taxi owner, was shot and killed during a drive-by shooting on the M7 westbound on April 20.
“It is reported that the suspects drove parallel to the deceased and fired several shots at him,” Netshiunda said.
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