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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Gunmen have shot dead 11 taxi drivers returning to Johannesburg from the funeral of a colleague in Kwa-Zulu Natal, a police spokesman said on Sunday.

The drivers, who were members of the Gauteng taxi association, were in a minibus driving along the R74 when unknown gunmen launched an ambush and opened fire.

"There was a shooting at about 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) last night. The vehicle was ambushed. There were 11 fatalities and four were seriously injured and are in hospital," Kwa-Zulu Natal spokesman Jay Naicker said.

"We understand they were from the Gauteng taxi association. There has been a lot of taxi violence in the area but we are still investigating who the perpetrators were."

Minibus taxis are the most popular form of transport in South Africa and violence is common by rival groups vying for dominance on profitable routes.

(Reporting by Joe Brock; editing by Jason Neely)

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Reuters