Police commissioner applauds members on a swift response to a hostage situation in a church that left five dead

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Police commissioner General Kgehla Sitole applauded SANDF and South African Police Service Task team members a swift response and handling of a hostage situation at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom, a town in the West Rand that in the early morning hours on Saturday.

In what is suspected to be a feud and division that have been going on for a while in the church, law enforcement members were alerted about a violent ordeal where several gun shots were fired which left five dead and several others injured.

It is said that 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 say 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.

After a swift response to the scene, over 40 suspects were arrested including six people who have been taken to hospital for medical attention. Among those arrested are members of SAPS, SANDF, JMPD and the Department of Correctional Services.

Sitole said he has 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.

“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” said Sitole.

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Investigations are still continuing on the matter and over 34 firearms including five rifles, 16 short guns and 13 pistols have been seized.

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