- Five fatalities have been confirmed after a high stakes hostage situation and shootout at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Johanessburg
- The incident took place in the early hours of Saturday morning with over 40 suspects arrested
- Among those arrested are SAPS, SANDF and Johannesburg Metro Police Department officials
A hostage situation and shootout in the early hours of Saturday morning saw five fatalities.
The incident took place at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom, Johannesburg.
The South African Police Service has confirmed that the five victims had been found deceased on the scene one of which was a security guard found in his car.
Six of the over 40 suspects that were placed under arrest were taken to the hospital, with the SAPS continuing in a statement that:
“Among those arrested are members of Saps, the South African National Defence Force (Sandf), the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) and the Department of Correctional Services.”
A massive amount of firearms were seized at the scene including five rifles, 16 shotguns and 13 pistols.
The statement said that the crime scene is still being processed as the investigation into the incident is launched:
“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."
eNCA reports that the shootout had formed part of a turf battle for control of the church after its leader passed away last year.
The attackers are suspected to be part of a splinter group, with the SAPS commenting in the statement 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 are investigating the possibility that this attack may have been motivated by a feud between conflicted parties of the Church.”
Meanwhile, Briefly.co.za reported that rapid antibody tests for Covid-19 have been approved by the South African health products regulator.
Chairperson of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, Professor Salim Abdool Karim has said that the tests will soon be made available to the public.
"Some of them are laboratory-based tests and others are clinic-based tests. We do not have any home-testing that we are looking at - it is only facility-based," said Karim. The tests have been lauded as the 'missing weapon' in the fight against the coronavirus.
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