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At least 17 people found dead in South African nightclub

Emergency services were called in the early hours of Sunday to the Enyobeni Tavern in Scenery Park, on the edge of East London, Eastern Cape province, according to the Daily Dispatch news site.

Eastern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana told the Newzroom Africa rolling news channel in the country that young adults aged between 18 and 20 were among the dead.

He said: “The SAPS confirms that about 17… were found dead inside a… tavern in Scenery Park, in the area of East London.

“We received this report in the early hours of Sunday. The circumstances surrounding the incident are under investigation as we speak.

“We do not want to make any speculations at this stage. Our investigation is continuing.”

He later confirmed to Reuters that “the circumstances under which they died are under investigation”, adding it was too early to determine the causes of death.

Reporters at the Daily Dispatch, which said the death toll could be as high as 22, say there is speculation those who died were exposed to some kind of poison or died during a stampede.

Zulu-language newspaper the Isolezwe News says eyewitnesses have told them that “bodies were everywhere” with no signs of injury.

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