Ecclesiastical hostage massacre in South Africa: 30 armed men storm the place of worship, leaving five dead after ‘feud between warring Christian religious factions’
- The murders took place at the International Pentecost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom
- It is believed that the massacre occurred during a leadership battle in the church
- Police scrambled to the scene at 3 a.m. local time and the massacre is underway
Five people have been killed and tens arrested during an ongoing church massacre in Johannesburg.
The massacre took place at the International Pentecost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom, and a specialist police team and heavily armed national armed forces remain on the scene.
The murders are believed to have occurred during a leadership battle in the church as officers scramble to the scene at 3 a.m. local time.
Thirty people have been arrested and more than 25 firearms have been seized, police said.
Suspects were seen face down
Officers said more than 25 firearms have been seized so far
A series of photos have been posted to Twitter because officers have arrested 30 suspects
A message on Twitter revealed that hostages are still on the scene
It is not yet clear whether the dead were among the attackers or hostages.
Horrible images from the police show suspects lying on the floor with their hands on their heads.
Another image shows weapons stacked on the floor next to what looks like boxes of ammunition.
A Twitter message revealed: “ This morning, #SAPS was alarmed by a hostage-taking and shooting @ International Pentcost Holiness Church, Zuurbekom, 30 suspects were arrested and seized more than 25 firearms.
“5 fatalities have been confirmed. The scene is still active with SAPS Hostage Negotiators. TM. ‘
The church, which has three million members, has become divided in its search for a successor to former leader Leonard Modise.