Police are searching for five assailants who entered a pub in Soweto, South Africa, over the weekend and killed 15 patrons with at least 137 gunshots, according to the police minister on Monday.
The raid in the early hours of Sunday morning, which was immediately followed by two additional gunshots, stunned a nation with one of the highest murder rates in the world. Nine other individuals were injured.
Police Minister Bheki Cele told a mob assembled at the site in Soweto's Orlando East neighborhood," It was such brutality" These individuals truly intended to kill and destroy. We do not know their motivation, but we will find them."
137 AK-47 cartridges were discovered by forensic teams at the crime scene, indicating that the killers would have had to reload during the massacre, according to Cele.
Four additional people were killed, and eight were injured in a tavern in Pietermaritzburg, 500 kilometers (300 miles) distant from Soweto. Two more were killed in a suspected robbery in a bar in Katlehong, outside of Johannesburg, according to police.
None of the three attacks are considered to be related. They have unleashed a tidal wave of rage on the police for their inability to combat the high violent crime rate.
Cele vowed to send officers to Orlando East to conduct door-to-door searches and to send extra police cars, the lack of which he said impeded police response times on occasion.
Andiswa Mnyembane, 37, of Orlando East, responded to the pledges by stating, "We'll see by their actions because we no longer believe what they say,"
"Criminals s shoot firearms as if they were fireworks. The police are slow to arrive... There are specific locations where the cops do not even go," she continued.
Approximately 20,000 people are murdered annually in South Africa, with a population of roughly 60 million.
According to Gun Free South Africa, over 3 million firearms are registered in the country, while it is believed that many more are circulating on the black market.
Townships such as Soweto were created by white minority rule, which ended in 1994 but left a legacy of pervasive poverty, youth unemployment, and discontentment.