WELKOM - Police in Welkom in the Free State have arrested a 47-year-old female church leader and her son after the discovery of various explosives on the premises which investigators believe was to be used to blow up ATMs in the town.

In a statement Tuesday, police spokesperson Colonel Thandi Mbambo said that on Monday at about 4pm, the Welkom Public Order Policing Reaction team had just knocked off duty when they received information about people in possession of explosives in Theunissen. 

"The Reaction team reconvened and together with the Provincial task team conducted an intelligence-driven operation in Masilonyana from 19:00 until 01:00.

"During an operation, an address in Boipatong location, which is also used as a church, was visited," Mbambo said. "A search was conducted in the house and various explosives normally used to blow ATM's were found and confiscated."

The 47-year-old female church leader and her 31-year-old son were arrested and charged with possession of explosives. 

"Preliminary investigation revealed that the explosives were allegedly destined to blow up ATM's in Welkom."

The suspects will appear in the Welkom Magistrate's Court soon.

African News Agency/ANA