Bomb rocks U.S. envoy's S. Africa home

October 04, 1990|By Jerelyn Eddings | Jerelyn Eddings,Johannesburg Bureau of The Sun

PRETORIA, South Africa -- An early-morning explosion shook the residence of the U.S. ambassador to South Africa yesterday. There were no injuries and only minor damage.

An embassy spokesman said Ambassador William Lacy Swing was at his home in the exclusive Waterkloof section of Pretoria when the bomb went off behind his house at 1 a.m. He said that the back gate to the property and a guard house were damaged but that the house itself was unscathed.

Police said debris shattered a window in a nearby house.

The incident represented the first time a U.S. official has been the target of violence during the unrest that has rocked South Africa in recent months. Bombs have been set off at union offices, bus stations, hotels, the office of a left-wing newspaper and offices of members of the ruling National Party.

Right-wing extremists took responsibility for most of those bombings, but police said no one had claimed responsibility for the bomb at Mr. Swing's house. Police described the device as a small homemade bomb but said they had no additional information about its origin.

Mr. Swing, an affable career diplomat, assumed the post of ambassador to South Africa in August 1989.

The bombing occurred during a period of improving relations between the United States and the South African government.

Only last week, South African President F. W. de Klerk journeyed to Washington for a meeting with President Bush, the first between leaders of the two countries in 45 years.

This week, Mr. Bush notified Congress that the South Africa government had made "dramatic and irreversible progress" toward the establishment of a non-racial, democratic society.

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