At least 20 people have died at the Enyobeni Tavern in East London under mysterious circumstances, while two others are in critical conditions in hospital.
Eastern Cape Community Safety spokesperson Unathi Binqose says there’s a possibility that the number of fatalities may be higher, according to Eyewitness News. And as per News24, a total of 35 people have also been reported missing, according to a community list.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana said that the cause of death is still unknown and that they were still investigating. Details about the deceased have not yet been released but Kinana said they believed the victims were aged between 18 and 20.
Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane called for calm at the scene as hundreds of residents gathered outside the tavern to try and find their loved ones. Police denied them access in order to conduct their investigation.
“Our people will not be able to access the scene, police are busy here. We don’t want to mess up this crime scene. We want a tight case so that we get everyone accountable for this.”
He also added: “We still cannot fathom what has happened here. Fortunately, all the experts are here to give us that sense of what exactly has happened. A lot is being said, everyone is saying things… but we don’t want to go with that.”
According to Eyewitness News, “there is speculation that patrons were either exposed to some form of poison or an incident that resulted in a large number being injured and killed in a stampede. It’s understood bodies are lying strewn across tables, chairs and on the floor at the club – with no obvious signs of injury”.
Picture: @kluisenaar / Twitter