Organised crime or gang rivalry is believed to be behind this week’s gay massage parlour massacre in Cape Town, South Africa.

Owner Eric Ottgar and seven masseurs died when a group of men entered the Sizzlers Massage Parlour in the early hours of Monday morning.

The victims were lined up on the floor with their hands tied behind their backs and shot. Some also had their throats cut.

The Independent On-Line, South Africa, reported politician Leonard Ramatlakane confirmed the killing was clearly a planned execution.

Four men survived the initial attack but were seriously injured. Two later died in hospital.

Most of the victims had not yet been identified, as they had worked in the parlour under aliases, or trade names.

The police have not given a motive for the attack, al-though speculations have risen about a gang battle involving Nigerian drug dealers.

While gay massage parlours are illegal in South Africa, Sizzlers had been operating for some time.

The South African Lesbian and Gay Equality Project issued a statement on Tuesday calling for South Africans to remain calm and stated the attack did not appear to be directly related to homophobia. The Project also called for gay and lesbian South Africans to support police investigations.

But a spokesman from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance -“ an organisation at odds with the more official Lesbian and Gay Equality Project -“ likened the attack to the 1999 bombing of Cape Town’s gay Blah Bar.

News agency quoted former Sizzlers worker Johan saying the gay massage scene in Cape Town was dangerous and drug-fuelled.

Many guys from other massage salons were jealous of us -“ because we were one of the oldest establishments in the country, he said.

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