Spate of taxi violence worsens in South Africa

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Unidentified gunmen opened fire on a mini bus taxi, killing several people on board on Saturday night in the latest violence among South Africa’s taxi ranks, police said.

The incident happened just before 8 p.m. as the mini bus was carrying a number of passengers who were returning to Johannesburg after attending a funeral in Ematimotolo in KwaZulu-Natal Province, police spokesperson Brigadier Jay Naicker said.

On their way between Colenso and Weenen, unknown people jumped onto the road from the bushes and opened fire at the taxi, he said.

Several people were killed, Naicker said, adding that police could not give the specific number at the moment.

Those killed were from a taxi association in Gauteng Province and they went to Ematimotolo to attend the funeral of one of their members, according to Naicker.

This was the latest incident in a series of attacks related to violent rivalry among taxi ranks in the country, particularly in KwaZulu-Natal Province, a hot bed of rising taxi violence.

On April 27, a group of heavily armed gunmen stormed a taxi rank in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province, killing one and seriously injuring three others. Following the incident, police arrested 16 suspects and seized 17 firearms.

South Africa has seen a spate of taxi violence resulting from rivalry among taxi drivers vying for dominance of profitable routes.

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