Police investigating 22 deaths in South African bar

via Twitter

South African authorities are investigating the deaths of at least 22 people found inside a popular township tavern close to East London city, provincial health officials said on Sunday.

The bodies will be transported to state mortuaries where relatives are expected to help identify both male and female victims, said Siyanda Manana, a spokesperson for the Eastern Cape provincial health department.

"We are going to immediately be embarking on autopsies so we can know the probable cause of death," he told Reuters as forensic personnel continued their work at the cordoned-off crime site at Enyobeni Tavern.

"We are talking 22 bodies right now," Manana added.

Earlier Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana said police were alerted by members of the public to the incident at Scenery Park, about three kms from the city centre.

"The circumstances under which they died are under investigation," Kinana told Reuters, adding it was too early to determine the cause of death of the young adults aged between 18-20 years.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has tweeted his condolences to the victims' families adding that the tragedy "is made even more grave by its occurrence during Youth Month – a time during which we celebrate young people, advocate and advance opportunities for improved socio-economic conditions for the youth of our nation."

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