At least five people died on Saturday in Johannesburg in an attack on the premises of a Pentecostal church. According to the South African police, a “legacy” after legacy for control of this church is the source of the violence.
The intrusion of a group of armed men who came to “take possession” of the premises of a Pentecostal church on Saturday, July 11 in Johannesburg, South Africa, left at least five people dead. According to South African police, this bloodshed is the latest episode in a violent “inheritance war” following the death of its charismatic founder in 2016.
“Four people were found shot dead and burned in a car, a fifth victim, a security guard, was killed in his vehicle,” said a statement from South African Police Chief Khehla John Sitole.
Early Saturday, a group of gunmen broke into a building of the Pentecostal International Holy Church in Zuurbekom, a western suburb of Johannesburg, “indicating they will take possession of the premises,” the statement said.
The police chief said his men had intervened after reports of “firearms and an alleged hostage situation” in the church where 34 firearms were seized.
“I’m sure the quick response from the security forces prevented what could have been an even more serious carnage,” Sitole said.
Forty people were arrested, including six injured who were taken to hospital.
Quarrel over the founder’s property
Among them are police, soldiers and prison officials, all out of service and present in the premises as supporters of the church, according to police.
The police chief said the authorities were investigating “the possibility that the attack was motivated by a quarrel between the parties to the conflict” within the church.
A “succession” war, covered by the local media, has shaken this Protestant church since its leader and founder, multimillionaire spokesman Glayton Modise, died in 2016.
This “war” has since given rise to several incidents, especially in 2018 when an exchange of fire near the church premises in Zuurbekom left three people injured.
In 2017, the parties to the conflict went to court over the alleged disappearance of $ 6.5 million from Church funds, one of the largest in South Africa with about 1.5 million members.