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DEVELOPING | Bheki Cele: Youngest Eastern Cape tavern victim was only 13 years old

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26 June 19:55

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

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.

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26 June 18:05

Youngest Enyobeni tavern victim was only 13 years old

Police Minister Bheki Cele says the youngest victim of the Enyobeni tavern tragedy is 13 years old.

Addressing families outside the Brookwood Mortuary, Cele said minors aged between 13 and 17 died at the Scenery Park tavern.

Police had earlier said the victims were between 18 and 20.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana said 21 people have died.

Cele, who cried after seeing the children’s bodies at the mortuary, said: “The scene I have seen inside, it doesn't matter what kind of a heart you have, you will be said. Firstly, the sight of those bodies sleeping there but when you look at their faces you realise that you're dealing with kids. You've heard the story that they are young but when you see them you realise that it's a disaster.”

The cause of death is still being investigated.

- Johnnie Isaac

26 June 17:17

Eastern Cape tavern death toll rises to 21

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana has confirmed to News24 that the death toll in the Enyobeni tavern tragedy has risen to 21.

The victim died in hospital on Sunday.

- Jeanette Chabalala

26 June 16:37

Police Minister Bheki Cele addressed the media at Woodbrook Mortuary where the remains of the victims who tragically died at Enyobeni Tavern in East London were identified. (Image: Johnnie Isaac)
Police Minister Bheki Cele addressed the media at Woodbrook Mortuary where the remains of the victims who tragically died at Enyobeni Tavern in East London were identified. (Image: Johnnie Isaac)

26 June 16:07

The Democratic Alliance has sent its "heartfelt" condolences to the family and friends of those who tragically died at Enyobeni Tavern in East London.

At least 20 people have been confirmed dead, while two others are in critical conditions in hospital in the wake of a tragedy.

"We are shocked and saddened by this devastating incident regarding the untimely passing of these young people, who attended a birthday party at the tavern. This is deeply distressing, and the whole province will mourn their passing," the party said.

"The South African Police Service must fully investigate the root cause of this tragedy, so it's never repeated again."

- Jeanette Chabalala

26 June 14:56

26 June 14:15

Cele deploys top forensic team to investigate cause of death in EC tavern tragedy

Police minister Bheki Cele has deployed a top forensic and pathology team from Pretoria to investigate what led to the death of 20 people at Enyobeni Tavern in the Eastern Cape.

Addressing an angry crowd at Scenery Park, Cele said they also needed to find out from the owner why the venue only had one exit and entrance.

“At first, we were told that this was a stampede, but by the looks of things, there was no stampede that took place,” Cele said.

“I do not want to speculate on the cause of death; that’s why we brought the top forensic team so that if the cause of death was some poison, they will let us know.”

- Cebelihle Mthethwa

26 June 14:15

26 June 14:05

EFF members, including some of its councillors from Buffalo City, arrived at the scene and demanded to go in and demolish the place.

Police prevented them from doing so and told them that nobody is allowed inside the crime scene.

They pointed at Buffalo City Metro Deputy Mayor Princess Faku who was at the scene, and those who are councillors argued that if she could be allowed in, they also deserved to be allowed in… but police stuck to their guns.

 - Johnnie Isaac

26 June 13:51

Enyobeni Tavern tragedy: No obvious signs of injury to victims, locals say

Eastern Cape police are trying to piece together exactly what transpired during the early morning hours on Sunday that led to multiple deaths at the Enyobeni Tavern in Scenery Park, East London.

The bodies of patrons were discovered in the tavern, but locals say the victims had no obvious signs of injuries. According to police, 17 people died at the scene, and three later died in hospital.

Members of the public alerted police to the incident in the early hours of Sunday morning after a number of bodies were found strewn inside the tavern.

The owner of the establishment arrived on the scene on Sunday morning and is locked in discussions with police.

Residents, who wanted to remain anonymous, speculated whether it was poison, gas, or a stampede that caused the mass deaths.

"It was definitely not a stampede, some bodies were still in their chairs while others were found lying on the floor," another local said.

"We don’t know what has happened, but there was no obvious signs of violence."

 - Johnnie Isaac

26 June 13:36

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

At least 20 people have been confirmed dead, while two more are in a critical condition in hospital, in the wake of a tragedy at Enyobeni Tavern in East London.

According to Eastern Cape Premier Oscar Mabuyane, 17 people died at the tavern in Scenery Park. Three more later died in hospital.

A total of 35 people have been reported missing, according to a community list.

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26 June 13:36

Families asked to identify East London tavern victims at Woodbrook mortuary

The MEC for Community Safety in the Eastern Cape, Weziwe Tikana Gxothiwe, has asked Scenery Park families to go to Woodbrook mortuary to help identify their loved ones.

The families have been denied entry into Enyobeni Tavern, where 17 people were found dead. The tavern is still being combed by police investigators.

 - Cebelihle Mthethwa

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26 June 13:36

Dead bodies found at East London tavern taken to state mortuaries

The 17 bodies discovered at Enyobeni Tavern in East London have been taken to various state mortuaries, the Eastern Cape Department of Health has said.

Department spokesperson Siyanda Manana told News24 that the Forensics Pathology Teams and EMS Teams are at the scene in Scenery Park.

"We are going to conduct autopsies as soon as possible to establish the probable cause of death. The deceased have been taken to state mortuaries," Manana added.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Thembinkosi Kinana said investigations into the cause of death were ongoing.

 - Cebelihle Mthethwa

26 June 13:36

UPDATE | At least 17 people found dead at East London tavern

Authorities are investigating an incident where at least 17 people were found dead at Enyobeni Tavern in East London on Sunday morning.

Earlier reports stated police were investigating the deaths of at least 22 people.

It is still unclear what led to the multiple deaths.

According to Eastern Cape Community Safety spokesperson Unathi Binqosi, who is at the scene, they are still trying to determine the exact number of people who died.

"It is no less than 18 people who have died in this incident," Binqose told News24, but the death toll was revised to 17 after receiving confirmation from police spokesperson, Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana.

According to the venue's Facebook page, on Saturday they had an all-black themed party celebrating two people's birthdays.

Police and emergency services are currently still at the scene.

Kinana told Reuters that police were alerted by members of the public to the incident at Scenery Park, about 3km from the East London 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.

 - Cebelihle Mthethwa

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