Police in South Africa on Monday launched a manhunt after gunmen opened fire on a birthday party in the southern port city of Gqeberha, killing eight.

Three people were wounded in the shooting, which occurred on Sunday evening in a township of the city, previously known as Port Elizabeth.

The birthday celebrant and house owner was among those killed, police said.

“There was a birthday celebration at the house, and the next minute people from outside came in and started shooting randomly,” police spokeswoman Priscilla Naidu told AFP.

The motive of the attack was unknown, and the victims were yet to be named.

Dozens of onlookers gathered outside the brown low-cost government-funded unit on Monday morning.

A barbecue grill, trays and empty packets of charcoal were lined against an outside wall, in a stark reminder of the celebratory mood that had filled the house the day before.

Mandla Booi, 55, a neighbour of the deceased, said he had made a lucky escape, as he had left the party just minutes before the shooting started.

“I passed through here yesterday and saw people enjoying themselves,” he told AFP, adding he spotted a friend who invited him to join the party.

He “didn’t stay long,” he said. “It was less than 20 minutes (later) when I heard there was a shooting”.


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