Five killed, 40 arrested after hostage incident at church in South Africa

A member of the Johannesburg metro Police department (JMPD) keeps watch as stranded commuters wait for transportation at a bus terminal. (Reuters)

Police in South Africa say five people are dead and more than 40 have been arrested after an early-morning hostage situation at a church near Johannesburg.

A statement says police and military who responded to reports of a shooting at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom found four people “shot and burned to death in a car” and a security guard shot in another car. Six other people were injured.

Police say they rescued men, women and children who had been held hostage and appeared to have been living at the church. The statement doesn’t say how many were rescued.

Police say more than 30 guns were found and the attack by a group of armed people “may have been motivated by a feud” between church members.

Television station eNCA said there had been a leadership dispute at the church and cited a church official as saying roughly 200 people had been taken hostage.

The national police commissioner says the response by security forces “averted what could have been a more severe bloodbath.”

The statement says among those arrested are members of the police, defense forces and correctional services.

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Last Update: Saturday, 11 July 2020 KSA 15:52 - GMT 12:52
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