Stop spreading rumours about Enyobeni deaths, say police

Police in the Eastern Cape have urged the public to stop spreading rumours about the cause of the deaths of 21 teenagers at Enyobeni tavern on Sunday morning.

They also warned the public to ignore any informal or unofficial information about the incident that does not come from the police, saying the speculation about the cause of deaths is unfounded.

“Until such time that the work of the forensic laboratory is concluded, any informal and unofficial information which is not released by the South African Police Service, must be regarded as falsehood and misleading to the public and the affected deceased families,” said provincial police commissioner General Nomthetheleli Mene.

“As clearly articulated in a statement released by the SAPS on Monday regarding the ongoing investigations, the SAPS forensic investigators are continuing with the investigation into the deaths of 21 children at Enyobeni tavern in Scenery Park [East London early on Sunday].

“After conducting an investigation in the building structure where the incident allegedly took place, and on the bodies where autopsies were conducted, all the exhibit specimen extracted were then taken to the forensic laboratory for toxicology examination.”

Mene explained further: “As indicated earlier, at an appropriate time and when an official report has been made available by the experts, the families and members of the public will be informed by the relevant authority.

“We urge people to refrain from making risky assumptions which do not assist our investigations.”

On Wednesday, government pathologist Dr Solomon Zondi said he believes that the victims died from a gaseous explosion on the ground floor which resulted in asphyxiation.

Twenty-one school-going teenagers were found dead inside the tavern where they had converged to celebrate the end of term two of the school calendar.

Zondi described the incident as the worst disaster he had had to deal with at the Brookwood mortuary, other than the Kei Cuttings bus crash which killed about 31 passengers in 2021.

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