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5 hostages killed in the South African church; 40 arrested



Five people were killed in a hostage situation in a Pentecostal church in South Africa on Saturday.

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

It was reportedly around 3:00 p.m. local time. Police negotiators were on site hours later.

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The South African police confiscated arms and arrested more than 40 people after responding overnight to a hostage situation at the International Pentcost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom on Saturday.

The South African police confiscated arms and arrested more than 40 people after responding overnight to a hostage situation at the International Pentcost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom on Saturday.
(South African Police Service)

The Associated Press described the church as troubled for a long time.

The police arrested 40 people. Six people were injured.

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

According to Reuters, more than 25 firearms were confiscated.

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National Police Commissioner Khehla John Sitole said the rapid response from the authorities had prevented more destruction and death, ABC News said.

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“I am sure that the rapid response from the common security forces has averted a potentially more serious bloodbath,” said Sitole in a statement on Saturday. “It is rather unfortunate that such an incident occurs at a time when South Africa is suffering from a deadly virus and violent crime.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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