JOHANNESBURG - Five people were killed and 17 injured at a traditional ceremony in a South African village when gunmen, thought to be from a rival group in the local tribe, opened fire on the crowd, police said on Monday.

Local media said the assailants were known to the victims who were holding a coming of age ceremony for two women at the weekend near Sundumbili in KwaZulu-Natal province, about 470 km (290 miles) southeast of Johannesburg.

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The motive for the shooting was not clear but, coming weeks after an African National Congress official was killed in the province, it raised concerns of a resurgence of political violence there.

"This was not a faction fight between two regions. These were people from exactly the same area," Prince Nkosinathi Zulu, a traditional leader, told The Witness newspaper.

Provincial Police Commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni said: "I am confident that we will bring the perpetrators to book."

"There is no place in society today for people who can butcher innocent people without batting an eyelid."