The South African police of South Africa said a speedy response has resulted in multiple arrests following a church attack in Gauteng province.
“At approximately 3:00 am on Saturday 11 July 2020, various disciplines of police 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,” said the National Commissioner of Police General Khehla John Sitole in a press statement.
Sitole said 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.
In the statement released by the police, Sitole revealed that 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,” added Sithole.
Police have arrested over 40 suspects including six people who have been taken to hospital.
According to the police reports, among those arrested are members of SAPS, SANDF, JMPD, and the Department of Correctional Services.
Over 34 firearms including five rifles, 16 short guns, and 13 pistols have also been seized by the police.
Sitole further explained that 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.
During the attack, it was reported that police 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 uploaded the Provincial police 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 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”, he added.
“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 Sitole.
The church’s Grace Comforter Frederick L.G Modise said in a press statement, that they are deeply saddened that on their special day of the Sabbath, sacred land was violated and defiled in the manner that it was.
“The elders that came before me built a legacy based on love and peace.
I call upon all children of the true Comforter of the IPHC, to see this as moment of reckoning, see this as God calling on you to turn back on the deceitful forces of darkness that use violence and any evil means necessary to hijack our Comforters good legacy for personal and evil gain,” concluded Modise.