22 young people found dead in a South African nightclub

the herald

At least 22 youths have been found dead in a nightclub under mysterious circumstances in a township in the city of East London in southern South Africa.

Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana said yesterday that police were alerted by members of the public to the incident at Scenery Park.

“The circumstances in which they died are under investigation,” Kinana said, adding that it was too early to determine the cause of death for young adults aged 18 to 20.

The bodies will be taken to mortuaries across the state where relatives are expected to help identify the victims, said Siyanda Manana, spokesperson for the Eastern Cape provincial health department.

“We will immediately embark on autopsies to find out the probable cause of death,” he said. “We’re talking about 22 bodies right now.”

“No visible open wounds”

Local television showed police trying to calm a crowd of people gathered outside the club in the town, located on the Indian Ocean coast, nearly 1,000 km (620 miles) south of the commercial capital, Johannesburg .

Unathi Binqose, an Eastern Cape community and security department official, speaking from the scene, ruled out a stampede as the cause of death.

“It’s hard to believe it was a stampede because there are no visible open wounds on these dead,” Binqose said. “Parents whose children have not slept at home are gathered here and they want to enter the tavern to look for their relatives.”

He said he understood the patrons were students “celebrating pens down, a party after (high school) exams.” A regional local newspaper, DispatchLive, reported that “bodies are strewn across tables, chairs and on the floor; with no apparent signs of injury.

“Everyone is angry”

Expressing his condolences to the affected families, President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed concern over the circumstances in which young people, potentially under the age of 18, were allowed to congregate at the tavern. Ramaphosa said in a statement that the law must take its course once investigations are completed.

“The call is for parents to ensure their children are well looked after, the call is for the community to say we cannot allow our children to die,” Bheki Cele said. , the Minister of National Police, to a large crowd near the scene. during an impromptu visit broadcast live on television.

A 17-year-old girl, who went only by the name ‘Lolly’ and lived near the tavern, said the place was a popular hangout for teenagers, but the community wanted it closed after the tragedy.

“Everyone wants it closed because they are selling alcohol to underage children. Everyone is angry, everyone is sad because of what happened,” he said. – she said – Al Jazeera.

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