S. African police prepare for anti-white terrorism Leftist group plans series of attacks

December 05, 1992|By Jerelyn Eddings | Jerelyn Eddings,Johannesburg Bureau

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- With Christma approaching and many whites heading for crowded holiday spots, this could be a bloody season for whites as well as blacks.

Law and Order Minister Hernus Kriel said yesterday that police had obtained detailed information about a terror campaign planned against white civilians by the Azanian People's Liberation Army, the armed wing of the leftist Pan Africanist Congress.

He said police were increasing roadblocks, beefing up investigating teams and increasing security in public places around the country. He also announced rewards for information leading to the arrest of terrorists.

President F. W. de Klerk vowed that his government would do whatever necessary to stop the campaign. "We will not stand terrorism," the president said in Pretoria.

The plan for terrorist attacks has been confirmed by men identifying themselves as commanders in the Azanian People's Liberation Army, or APLA.

Whites, already worried about the uncertain future of the country and the prospects of black rule, have expressed anger and horror at the campaign.

In the second act of terrorism against whites within a week, a bomb exploded late Thursday in a busy steakhouse in the town of Queenstown. No one was killed, but 19 whites were injured.

Five days earlier, a gun-and-grenade attack killed four whites and injured 17 other people in the nearby city of King William's Town in the eastern Cape region.

No one claimed responsibility for the latest attack, but police said they thought it was the same black militant group that committed the first act, the APLA.

After the first attack, a man claiming to be an APLA commander telephoned the South African Press Association and said it was the first assault in a campaign that would bring violence to white communities. He said there would be an attack on whites after every vigilante attack against blacks.

JTC "We're not taking this lying down. People here are angry," Queenstown Mayor Johnny Johnson was quoted as saying. "These bloody animals must be caged."

Police said they were concerned that the campaign could

increase racial hatred and lead to acts of vengeance against blacks.

The African National Congress, the country's major black political organization, has deplored the attacks, while leaders of the Pan Africanist Congress have scoffed at all the "hullabaloo" about the killing of a few whites.

The PAC is a radical but minor black political group. Its military wing is based outside the country, and PAC leaders inside South Africa say they do not control the military operations.

The incidents are not likely to have a serious impact on black-white pro-democracy negotiations, which are just resuming after a six-month stalemate.

Until recently, the PAC had refused to take part in negotiations, which began a year ago. Only last month, they agreed to join the talks when multiparty negotiations resume, but President de Klerk's government has called off a meeting set for next week with PAC leaders.

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