Five killed many injured in shooting at South African church – 40 people arrested

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Five people were killed in an attack on a church west of Johannesburg said South African police, with 40 people arrested.

An off-duty police officer was among the 40 people detained after gunmen stormed the church, reportedly over a leadership dispute, the national police commissioner said.

Some of the attackers took hostages who were later freed, after the incident in the early hours of Saturday.

South African police chief Khehla John Sitole said: “Four people were found shot and burnt to death in a car while a fifth victim, a security guard, was also fatally shot in his car while he was apparently attending this complaint.”

An armed group stormed the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom, on the western outskirts of Johannesburg, “indicating that they were coming to take over the premises,” police said.

The church has had multiple succession-related clashes that have been widely reported by local media since multimillionaire leader and founder Comforter Glayton Modise died in 2016.

Sitole said police responded to reports of “shooting and an alleged hostage situation,” and seized more than 34 firearms including five rifles, 16 other guns and 13 pistols.

 

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