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 Monday, 20 January, 2003, 14:11 GMT
'Horrific executions' in Cape Town
Gay men
South Africa guarantees equal rights for gays
An eighth man has died in an execution-style attack on a gay massage parlour in Cape Town, according to South African police.

Police were called in by neighbours who heard gun shots at the house about 0400 local time.

Two other men were seriously injured after the attack. All 10 men had been shot in the head.

It is being suggested that the attack could be linked to organised crime.

Earlier, neighbours had said there had been an altercation at the house involving drug dealers.

'Horrific'

Six men were found dead by police in the residential house in the Sea Point district of Cape Town. A seventh died of his injuries four hours after being admitted into hospital, and an eighth has now died.

The six had been tied up and shot at close range, Captain Etienne Terblanche, a police spokesman said. Their throats were also slit.

Police described the scene that greeted them when they arrived as "horrific".

There was "an incredible amount of blood about", Mr Terblanche said.

The injured men had also been shot in the head, he said. They had been rushed to two Cape Town hospitals.

"When we arrived, the injured were crawling around on the floor," he said.

He said the house was rented out and was run as a massage parlour, apparently for gay men.

Each bedroom in the house served as a massage suite and the walls were decorated with graphic images.

Bondage equipment was also found in the house.

The police are not yet certain whether the victims were clients or masseurs.

'Very concerned'

It looked like "organized crime was behind this," Leonard Ramatlakane, safety and security minister of the Western Cape province, said.

A police task force had been formed to investigate, he said.

The Lesbian and Gay Equality Project said the attack could have been a hate crime and called on police to work diligently to find the killers.

"We have been very concerned about threats issued by various fringe groups in society over recent months that indicated an intention to perpetrate acts of violence against lesbian and gay people," the organization's director, Evert Knoesen, said in a statement.

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"It's being suggested the attack could be linked to organised crime"

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31 Jan 99 | Africa
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