Death Toll From South Sudan Shooting Up to 13
Police in South Sudan say the death toll has risen to 13 from Saturday’s mass shooting at a club where patrons were watching an English football game.
Authorities have not arrested any suspects in the attack, which took place at a club in Gurei, outside Juba, as people watched a Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Everton.
Kwacijwok Dominic Amondoc, deputy spokesman of South Sudan’s National Police Service, told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus program Monday that officers have spoken to dozens of eyewitnesses and detained dozens of people for questioning.
“[W]e went to the scene of the crime and we investigated some youths who were there, and some of them they say that if they saw the suspect they [would] know him,” the spokesman said. “But now we are still running after him and we assure the public that we will soon arrest him.”
Amondoc said police believe the shooter acted alone. “This was an individual behavior, it’s not an organized thing,” he said.
He said nine people died inside the club while four others died from their injuries at Juba Teaching Hospital.
Hospital staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media, say other people wounded in the attack are in comas.
Police say their preliminary investigation indicates the shooter had come to watch the football game, but was barred from entering the club as he could not pay the entry fee of about $1.60.
They say the man, who appeared to be drunk, went home, returned with a rifle, most likely an AK-47, and began randomly shooting people inside the club.
Wani Patrick, a patron who suffered a hand injury, told South Sudan in Focus the unknown gunman opened fire sometime between seven and eight p.m.
He said he couldn’t identify the shooter because other patrons fell on top of him.
“Many people were shot, many people died,” he said. “Others died on the chairs while others died in the club. The person who was shooting ran away and we don’t know who he is. … I feel my hand is broken but it does not pain so much like before.”
South Sudan’s Deputy Information Minister Akol Paul Kordit describes Saturday’s shooting as “a continuation of barbaric attacks on innocent citizens.” He likened the shooting to recent attacks on civilians along the Juba-Yei and Juba-Nimule roads.
“It’s very unfortunate and we as government we condemn this in the strongest terms possible and pledge that we will do what we can to protect our people and bring to book such people,” he said.
South Sudan has been plagued by deadly violence since a civil war erupted in December 2013.