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Five killed as hostages taken at South African church

Reuters logo Reuters 7/11/2020
a group of people walking down the street: Riot police keep watch during a strike at Vodacom's headquarters in Midrand © Reuters/SIPHIWE SIBEKO Riot police keep watch during a strike at Vodacom's headquarters in Midrand

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Five people were killed and hostages were being held at a church west of Johannesburg, South African police said on Saturday.

Police said in a statement on Twitter that they were alerted to a "hostage situation and shooting" in the early hours of the morning at the International Pentecost Holiness Church in Zuurbekom.

Thirty arrests were made and more than 25 firearms seized, police said, adding hostage negotiators were still at the scene.

Police did not say why or how many hostages had been taken.

Television station eNCA said there had been a leadership dispute at the church and cited a church official as saying roughly 200 people had been taken hostage.

(Reporting by Alexander Winning and Lynette Ndabambi; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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