An estimated fifty looters died in a burning hardware store in South African

Mass casualty event

Bhejani Hardware & Furniture Store on Google Street View

Between 10-18 looters died while trampling each other in a shopping mall in Soweto Township outside of Johannesburg. That incident was widely reported during the past week. However, a much more significant single loss of life occurred in a remote town in the Kwa Zulu-Natal.

Last Monday, the Bhejane Hardware & Furniture erupted into flame while looters were packed inside. It was known that some looters died. However, it was not until this morning that police and forensic workers began investigating the scene. They say the complex is full of human remains. Some victims have been almost entirely reduced to ash. The current estimate of fatalities is fifty people.

Some have taken to Twitter to accuse the hardware store owners of setting the building on fire to kill looters purposely.

The hardware store is in Umzimkhulu, which is south of Lesotho. The town is said to be devastated by looting and arson. The town is surrounded by many small villages and is a center of commerce for a large area.

Local police seemed to indicate that other people died in different incidents as well. However, they do not want to comment on these incidents yet.

On Friday, the South African government placed the death toll at 212. However, the actual number of dead is probably far higher. A firm death toll may never be known.

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