Five people were killed in a hostage situation at a Pentecostal church in South Africa on Saturday.
Police and military officials who responded to reports of a shooting at the headquarters of the International Church of Pentecostal Holiness 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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The Associated Press described the church as a person with many problems.
Police arrested 40 people. Six people have been injured.
Police say the children were among the rescued. They say the attack by a group of armed people “may have been motivated by a fight” between members of the church.
More than 25 firearms have been seized, according to Reuters.
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Khehla John Sitole, National Commissioner of General Police, said the authorities’ swift response further prevented destruction and death, according to ABC News.
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“I am confident that the rapid response by the joint security forces has prevented what could have been a more severe bloodbath,” Sitole said in a statement Saturday. “It is quite unfortunate that such an incident occurs during a time when South Africa is affected by a deadly virus and violent crime.”
Associated Press contributed to this report.