AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
FIVE people were shot dead, several injured and 40 were arrested during a hostage drama at one of Africa’s biggest and richest churches – the International Pentecostal Holiness Church (IPHC) – in Zuurbekom, west of Johannesburg.
The South African Police Service said the incident took place at the IPHC around 3 am. A total of 25 firearms were seized. There is a heavy police presence at the church, which has been rocked by divisions and fights in the past 10 years.
Police were involved in negotiations and managed to defuse the situation and rescue close to 200 hostages.
Factions wanting to control the church, which has over three million members, have clashed repeatedly since the 2016 death of the Bishop of the church Gayton Modise.
Modise took over the church after the death of its founder and his father Frederick Samuel Modise.