South Africans have been left a tad bemused by the State of Qatar’s response to the spate of tavern shootings reported in our country over the weekend. The Gulf nation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered a strong condemnation – and implied that the incident was terrorism-related.

Qatar government condemns ‘terrorism’ in South Africa

There are a few reasons why so many SA citizens have been left scratching their heads at this statement. First and foremost, the Qatari government has acted quicker than their counterparts in South Africa, to denounce the shootings as an act of terror.

Secondly, many have been left to wonder if international agents are to blame for this crime – and Qatar’s bold declaration will certainly add fuel to the fire. What is more, the Doha-based ministry is specifically focused on the incident in Soweto.

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In total, 15 people were gunned down in the Johannesburg district on Saturday. This misery has been compounded by similar shootings in Pietermaritzburg and Katlehong over the weekend, where a further six people were killed. The heinous crimes have made international headlines.

Tavern shootings: Statement from Qatar blindsides SA citizens

But it’s not just the foreign press taking note: The Qatar government has shared its ‘deep condolences’ to all those affected by the tavern shootings – and the State’s decision to pin the blame on terrorism has become a major talking point online…

“The state of Qatar expressed its strong condemnation and denunciation of the shooting incident in Soweto, which led to deaths and injuries. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs affirms the State’s firm position on the rejection of violence and terrorism.”

Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Tavern shootings: Latest updates and news for Monday 11 July

It’s almost certain that this message is simply an act of diplomatic solidarity over anything else. But it adds yet another factor of intrigue to a case that is going to take some cracking. SAPS are still trying to piece together how and why these tavern shootings played out the way they did.

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We’ll need answers fast, given that this isn’t even the deadliest incident at a South African tavern reported in the last two weeks. Young patrons – 21 of them in total – lost their lives at the Enyobeni venue in East London just 15 days ago, and we’re still none the wiser about an official cause.

Communities are demanding justice, and prolonged periods of silence will do nothing to quell these rising tides of rage.


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