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Pentecostal Holiness Church leaders speak out after hostage situation

Five people were shot dead when a splinter group allegedly forcefully entered the church on Saturday.

Police arrested several people and over 25 firearms were seized during the hostage incident at the International Pentecost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom on 11 July 2020. Picture: SAPS.

JOHANNESBURG - The church leaders of the Pentecostal Holiness Church are speaking out a day after people were killed and some held hostage at the church headquarters in the west of Johannesburg.

Five people were shot dead when a splinter group allegedly forcefully entered the church on Saturday.

Over 200 congregants, including children, were held at ransom for hours.

There has been an ongoing leadership battle since the founder of the church died in 2016.

The church’s spokesperson, Abiel Wessie, a priest, said the faction from the church’s Jerusalem branch was behind the attack.

“They came in and forcefully wanted to take over the church. They came in and bulldozed the entrance. They used their bakkie to get through a gate that was locked. They managed to get access and others came through the back gate. They started to harass church members who were asleep at the time.”

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