Five people have been killed after attackers stormed a South African church, reportedly amid an argument over its leadership.
Police released images of suspects lying on the ground
South African police said they had rescued men, women and children from a “hostage situation” on the outskirts of Johannesburg on Saturday morning.
They have also arrested at least 40 people, and seized dozens of weapons.
Eyewitnesses say the men who stormed the International Pentecostal Holiness Church were part of a splinter group.
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.
On Saturday, police were called to the church in Zuurbekom in the West Rand at 03:00 local time (01:00 GMT).
A number of weapons have been recovered by police
According to national police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo, a group of attackers indicated to those inside “that they were coming to take over the premises”.
He said four people had been found shot and burnt to death in cars, while a security guard, who was thought to have been responding to the incident, was also fatally shot.
Five rifles, 16 shotguns and 13 pistols, along with other weapons, were found at the church, which police have been combing for evidence.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) said that among those arrested were members of SAPS, the South African National Defence Force, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department and the Department of Correctional Services.
The International Pentecostal Holiness Church is thought to have about three million members in Southern Africa. BBC News
Three more people have died of Covid 19 bringing the cumulative number of deaths in Zimbabwe to 12 as confirmed cases have risen to 926 after 41 new cases were recorded yesterday.
Two deaths were yesterday recorded from Sally Mugabe Central Hospital with Parirenyatwa Hospital recording one death.
These were detected as part of routine testing of all deaths that occur on admitted patients in hospitals.
The number of recoveries has increased to 306 since the onset of the outbreak on 20 March 2020.
The 41 who tested positive for Covid 19 included 36 locals and five returnees.
According to the Ministry of Heath and Child Care update, two of the returnees were from South while Namibia, japan and Sweden had one case each.
The update indicate that recoveries have increased to 306 after 100 were recorded yesterday.
Midlands has the highest number of recoveries at 47, Masvingo 32, Mashonaland East 14 and Manicaland 7.
On Thursday, Bulawayo province reported 51 confirmed cases of which 21 are health care workers who had been in contact with confirmed cases admitted at the hospital and have been isolated.
Yesterday, 3555 RDT screening tests and 580 PCR diagnostic tests were done.
The cumulative number of tests done to date is 86 212 with 50 866 RDT and 35 346 PCR.
To date the total number of active cases is 608.