At approximately 3:00am yesterday morning, various disciplines of the South African Police Service followed by members of the South Aftican National Defence Force responded to reports of a shooting and an alleged hostage situation at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom, a town in the West Rand in the Gauteng Province, South Africa.
A group of armed people entered the Modise church premises and allegedly attacked people indicating that they were there to take over the premises.
Police are investigating the possibility that this attack may have been motivated by a feud between conflicted parties within the congregation.
Four men were found shot and burnt to death in a car while a fifth man, a security guard, was also fatally shot in his car while he was apparently attending this complaint.
Police have arrested 46 suspects including six people who have been taken to hospital under police guard.
Police have also seized 68 firearms including 17 rifles, 24 shotguns, 27 pistols, over 330 rounds of ammunition, explosives and 9 vehicles.
suspects will face charges of possession of unlicensed Fire arms and ammunitions while four will face charges of possession of explosives.
The crime scene was processed by the SAPS Forensic experts after the Special Task Force, Tactical Reponse Team and Visible Policing members rescued a number of men, women and children who were said to have been held hostage within the compound.
The National Commissioner of Police General Khehla John Sitole has praised the Provincial SAPS Management and Gauteng team for their prompt response to this attack. “I am certain that the speedy response by the the joint security forces has averted what could have been a more severe blood bath”, said General Sitole.
“I have tasked the Provincial management to finalize its preliminary investigations in the quickest possible time and ensure that the 72-hour Activation Plan is mobilized to bring to book all those responsible for this attack”, added General Sitole.
“I have embarked on a Spiritual Crime Prevention Concept which involves the participation of all religious denominations in the fight against crime. 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”, concluded General Sitole.