At least five people have died and several were
injured in an attack on a church in Johannesburg that also involved
the taking of hostages, broadcaster eNCA reported on Sunday.
Some 40 people, including two police officers and a soldier, were
arrested and about three dozen firearms were found at the scene of
the attack west of Johannesburg over the weekend, the report said.
More than 200 members of the congregation were held hostage and later rescued by police, it added. Eyewitnesses told media that gunmen opened fire on security guards at the headquarters of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) in the district of Zuurbekom early on Saturday morning. They then forced their way into the church and began searching for certain leaders of the church.
Four bodies were later found in a burnt-out car, reportedly with bullet wounds. Police are investigating whether the attack is died to a bitter fight over the legacy of church leader Glayton Modise, who died in 2016.
The IPHC, founded by Modise's father, is considered the second-largest Free Church in South Africa. According to media reports, it is worth about 2 billion rand (119 million dollars). After the founder's death, the church splintered into factions.
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