Police are searching for two men who allegedly locked a number a people in a tavern and petrol-bombed the establishment in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape, on Thursday evening.
Six people were killed and four injured.
Around 21:00, two unknown men entered the tavern, situated at Sweetwater, and ordered that all patrons leave the establishment, police spokesperson Colonel Sibongile Soci said.
Some of the patrons obeyed the men’s instructions and left, but those who stayed behind were not as lucky.
Just 15 minutes after they entered the tavern, the men allegedly threw a petrol bomb into the establishment and locked the remaining patrons inside as the fire started blazing.
“In total, six people died during this ordeal,” Soci said.
A further four people – three women and one man – were injured during the incident. They were rushed to Grey hospital to receive treatment.
Firefighters managed to get the fire under control and saved a “few” people who were still alive and trapped inside.
“All the victims’ ages cannot be confirmed.”
Six charges of murder and arson have been opened.
“The cause of the bombing is unknown at the moment and it forms part of the investigation. A 72-hour activation plan has been initiated, while the case has been handed over to the DPCI [Hawks] for further investigation and handling,” said Soci.
Eastern Cape police commissioner Lieutenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga expressed her shock at the incident.
“No words are enough or appropriate to express our shock at the inhumane and brutal way the victims suffered at the mercy of the perpetrators,” Ntshinga said.
“Our detectives must leave no nook and cranny uncombed in search of the perpetrators behind this cruel act.
“We have initiated a 72-hour activation, and in the same breath send our sincere condolences to the victims, their families and close relatives.”