Cape Town, Sep 16: At least eight people were shot dead on Wednesday during two gunfights in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. At least three people were shot dead and three others were injured in a gunfight at a taxi rank in Durban CBD, reported Xinhua news agency.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Chris Botha said police were investigating the shooting. “Netcare 911 paramedics and the provincial ambulance services arrived at the scene and were faced with carnage,” said Botha. (Read: Seven dead in French Alps avalanche: official)

Paramedics said they had never seen so many automatic weapons on a scene, the police seized at least five handguns and three rifles after the shoot-out behind the old railway station in Durban. The three injured persons were sent to hospital.

There was a heavy police presence on the scene and by 8.00 a.m. (local time) one body was still lying there covered with a silver blanket. In another gunfight in KwaMashu, 20 km north to Durban, at least five people were killed in a hostel.

“This morning at 07.00 (local time), a group of men entered block A95 in the KwaMashu hostel and opened fire at the occupants of one of the rooms,” said KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Jay Naicker.

Three people in the room died instantly and one died whilst receiving medical attention.

The body of another victim was found lying outside the hostel, taking the toll to five.