Five people are dead and more than 40 have been arrested after a hostage situation at a church near Johannesburg, police said on Saturday.
Police and military who responded to reports of a shooting at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom found four people “shot and burned to death in a car” and a security guard shot in another car. Six others were injured.
Police said they rescued men, women and children who had been held hostage and appeared to have been living at the church.
The attack by a group of armed people “may have been motivated by a feud” between church members, the police said.
Photos tweeted by the police showed more than a dozen men lying on the ground, subdued, along with rifles, pistols, a baseball bat and boxes of ammunition.
Among those arrested were members of the police, defence forces and correctional services.
The church has been the scene of violence between factions in recent years, with shots fired, rocks thrown and cars smashed. “Trouble has been brewing at the church following the death of its leader‚ Glayton Modise‚ in February 2016,” The Sowetan newspaper reported in 2018