Police say three others were wounded in the southern port city of Gqeberha and a manhunt for the perpetrators is under way.

Armed men opened fire on a group of people celebrating a birthday in a township in South Africa, killing eight and wounding three others, police say.

“The owner of the house was celebrating his birthday when two unknown gunmen entered the yard” on Sunday evening in the southern port city of Gqeberha,

formerly Port Elizabeth, “and started shooting at the guests”, police said in a statement on Monday.

The incident occurred between 5:15pm and 5:30pm local time (15:15-15:30 GMT) at a house in Kwazakele, police. Two assailants were involved in the shooting, authorities said.

The unknown attackers “randomly shot at guests”, police said, adding “eight people died while three others are still fighting for their lives in hospital.

The homeowner is among the deceased.” An investigation has been launched into the attack, and police said a manhunt for the perpetrators was under way.