5 dead in hostage situation at South Africa church; 40 arrested – Fox News

Five people have been killed in a hostage situation at a Pentecostal church in South Africa Saturday.

Police and military who responded to reports of a shooting at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church headquarters in Zuurbekom near Johannesburg found four people “shot and burned to death in a car” and a security guard shot in another car.

It happened around 3 a.m. local time, according to reports. Police hostage negotiators were still on the scene hours later.

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South African police seized weapons and made more than 40 arrests after responding to a hostage situation at International Pentcost Holiness Church, Zuurbekom, overnight Saturday.

South African police seized weapons and made more than 40 arrests after responding to a hostage situation at International Pentcost Holiness Church, Zuurbekom, overnight Saturday.
(South African Police Service)

The Associated Press described the church as long-troubled.

Police arrested 40 individuals. Six people have been injured.

Police say children were among those rescued. They say the attack by a group of armed people “may have been motivated by a feud” between church members.

More than 25 firearms have been seized, according to Reuters.

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Khehla John Sitole, the National Commissioner of Police General, said the quick response by authorities averted even more destruction and death, according to ABC News.

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“I am certain that the speedy response by the joint security forces has averted what could have been a more severe blood bath,” Sitole said in a statement Saturday. “It is rather unfortunate that such an incident takes place during a time when South Africa is being plagued by a deadly virus and violent crimes.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.