By Azania Post Reporter
A shootout between the South African police and the followers of Seven Angels Ministry cult in Cape Town, South Africa Friday after a tip the police received from a man they were holding in custody.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula has branded the church where a fatal shootout took place during a hunt for a gang that killed five police officers, "satanic", and says it would be closed down.
Mbalula was responding after a shootout took place at the church which left seven people dead and saw 10 others arrested.
The church was harboring suspects in the case that saw five police officers killed at Ngcobo police station earlier this week.
"Police arrested suspected criminals in a satanic place masquerading as a church," said Mbalula in a statement on Saturday.
"Our people must be vigilant and report these kinds of places."
A police officer was also injured in the leg during the shootout and some suspects apparently managed to run away.
The raid on Friday night came after four people were taken in for questioning after Warrant Officer Zuko Mbini, 45, Constables Zuko Ntsheku, 38, Nkosiphendule Pongco, 32, Sibongiseni Sondlana, 32 and Kuhle Metete, 27, and a retired soldier were killed. The soldier's name has not been made available.
Mbalula said: "Let me tell you what we discovered when the police arrived there.
"That there is no church there, but there is Satanism.
"Those people are not praying for anything, but they have hypnotized abantu [people]," said Mbalula wearing an ANC T-shirt.
With him was National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole, who had also arrived on the scene in the Nyanga village outside Ngcobo.
On Friday night after 10 pm, police pounced after receiving information from a man they arrested earlier in the day.
Officers with the Hawks, National Intervention Unit, and Tactical Response Team ordered the members to come outside so police could determine if the stolen firearms were there. Instead, cult members opened fire.
“Within 30 minutes of the shootout, seven suspects were on the ground,” Sithole said.
“This was an hour after we had arrested one of the suspects. We called our high-risk forces to get to the place. The intention for us getting to the church was that, first, we wanted to get our firearms back.”
Mbalula criticised police for not shutting down the cult after local residents reported suspicious activities.
“Why did we let it come to the death of police for us to find guns there when members of the community had long been reporting the church?”