JOHANNESBURG — South African police said five people were dead and more than 40 were arrested after an early-morning hostage crisis at a church near Johannesburg.
A statement said the police and the military who responded to reports of a shooting at the International Pentecostal Holiness Church in Zuurbekom found four people “shot and burned to death in a car” and a security guard shot in another car. Six other people were injured.
The police said they rescued men, women and children who had been held hostage and appeared to have been living at the church. The statement didn’t say how many were rescued.
The police said more than 30 guns were found and the attack by a group of armed people “may have been motivated by a feud” between church members.
The national police commissioner said the response by security forces “averted what could have been a more severe blood bath.”
The statement said among those arrested were members of the police, defense forces and correctional services.