"Police in the early hours of this morning were alerted to a hostage situation and shooting at the International Pentecost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom".
It was reported in the Sowetan past year that after the death in 2016 of the founder of the church, Glayton Modise, who was known as "The Comforter", he did not leave behind a proper will.
It's believed that there are close to 200 hostages.
According to the Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo, spokesperson for the National Police Commissioner, more than 40 suspects, including six others who were taken to hospital, were arrested.
"The initial group that allegedly attacked this church said they were here to take over the premises", Naidoo said.
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Among those arrested were members of the police, defense forces and correctional services.
Suspects of the attack who have been arrested by police.
Later in the day, members of the police Special Task Force, Tactical Response Team, and Visible Policing force combed the church building, rescuing men, women and children that reportedly were living in the compound.
'5 fatalities are confirmed. The hostage negotiators are still at the scene.
He died in February 2016 without appointing a successor, The South African reported.
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The International Pentecost Holiness Church bases its headquarters in Zuurbekom. Police had previously been called to the church following a shoot out between members in 2018, South Africa's IOL reports.
The force warned locals to stay clear of the church.
It is not yet known which of the three factions are the aggressors in this scenario, or indeed if the hostage situation is even related to the church dispute in any way.
Churchgoers at the time reported being narrowly hit by bullets.
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