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Seven people believed to be Nigerians were shot dead at different times within the last one week in South Africa, media reports have said.

South African police spokesman, Tim Masilela, said four Nigerians were killed when a group of men opened fire on them in Benoni on the East Rand. According to reports, the four were in a Volkswagen Golf alongside one other when a car stopped in front of them.

A group of men got out of the car and opened fire, killing two of the men in the Golf instantly. A third passenger tried to run away, but collapsed and died a few metres from the scene. A fourth man died later in hospital. The fifth man in the car was not hurt.

“The motive behind the shooting is unknown. Police are still investigating,” Masilela said. Last Saturday, three Nigerians were killed in a cell phone shop in Voortrekker Street, Benoni.

They were inside the shop when five armed men entered around 6 p.m., police spokesperson Lungelo Dlamini said at the time.

The five opened fire, killing two of the customers, both 38, inside the shop, and the third man, 40, at the shop door. The gunmen fled in a green BMW. They were also believed to be Nigerians, said Dlamini.

He said the police found spent cartridges at the scene, and a licensed firearm belonging to one of the men who died. Nothing was stolen.

“The motive for the killing is still unknown but a possibility that the victims were a rival group is being investigated,” he said.

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