Eastern Cape tavern tragedy: Cops seek answers following death of 21 teens

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  • Twenty-one people died at a local tavern in East London. 
  • Police are investigating.
  • The youngest victim was 13 years old. 

Police have opened an investigation following the tragic deaths of 21 teenagers at a local tavern in Scenery Park, East London.

They have also ordered the deployment of "maximum resources" as they investigate the incident.

On Sunday morning, at about 04:00, the Scenery Park police station received reports of "lifeless bodies", national police spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said.

"Upon arrival, police found 17 bodies inside the building. It was later established two more died at a local clinic, one died en route to [the] hospital, and another died in hospital," she said.

READ | We 'cannot fathom' what happened: 20 people dead, 2 hospitalised after Eastern Cape tavern tragedy

Twelve boys and nine girls have now been confirmed dead at Enyobeni Tavern.

The youngest victim was 13 years old.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and national SAPS commissioner General Fannie Masemola visited the area on Sunday afternoon.

Mathe said the two had led a delegation of crime scene experts and bomb disposal technicians - from the national headquarters of the Criminal Record and Crime Scene Management Component - to support the Eastern Cape Crime Scene Investigations teams.

"The Minister of Police engaged with local residents and with parents of the deceased at the local mortuary where the process to identify the victims was underway," she said.

READ | Eastern Cape tavern tragedy: Families asked to identify victims at Woodbrook mortuary

"Minister Cele has called on residents and affected families to allow police investigations to unfold." 

Cele said they had an "experienced" team who were complementing the provincial team, and this would ensure that police got to the "bottom of what has led to the death of these young people".

Anyone who might have information regarding what might have transpired was asked to contact the police and share information on the Crime Stop number - 08600 10111.

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