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5 Dead in Shooting at South African Zuurbekom Church - Police Alerted 'Hostage Situation'

Five people have been killed and more than 40 people arrested in South Africa following an attack at church in Zuurbekom, a town in the Gauteng Province of South -Africa on Saturday.

Four people were found shot and burnt to death in a car while a fifth victim, a security guard, was also fatally shot, local authorities said.


Attack at Zuurbekom Church

The National Commissioner of Police General Khehla John Sitole said the quick response by authorities averted even more destruction and death.Responding authorities said they also rescued multiple men, women and children, who were said to be living in the compound and being allegedly held hostage.

"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."

Zuurbekom Attack


The church's leadership has reportedly been the subject of infighting since its former leader died in 2016. Police had previously been called to the church following a shoot out between members in 2018, South Africa's IOL reports.The year before, the church's finances had come under the spotlight, amid allegations some 110m rand ($6.5m; £5.2m) had gone missing, according to The Sowetan newspaper.

The South African Police Service and National Defense Force responded Saturday to reports of a shooting and an alleged hostage situation at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church at 3 a.m. local time.

Authorities do not believe a terrorist group is responsible for the attack, but "may have been motivated by a feud between conflicted parties of the church."

A group of armed people, police said, came to the church and allegedly attacked people who were inside, indicating that they were coming to take over the premises.

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