Pretoria: 11 July 2020 – At approximately 3:00 am this morning, various disciplines of the South African Police Service followed by members of the South African 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 came to the Modise church and allegedly attacked people who were inside indicating that they were coming to take over the premises.
Police are investigating the possibility that this attack may have been motivated by a feud between conflicted parties of the Church.
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.
Police have arrested over 40 suspects including six people who have been taken to hospital. Among those arrested are members of SAPS, SANDF, JMPD and the Department of Correctional Services.
Over 34 firearms including five riffles, 16 short guns and 13 pistols have also been seized.
The crime scene is still being processed and the figures of arrests and firearms seized may fluctuate as the Special Task Force, Tactical Response Team and Visible Policing members continue to comb the compound.
These Units have also rescued men, women and children who are said to be living in the compound and were being held hostage.
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 joint security forces has averted what could have been a more severe blood bath,” said General Sitole.
“I have tasked the Provincial management to finalise its preliminary investigations in the quickest possible time and ensure that the 72-hour Activation Plan is mobilised 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.