Militant group declares war on S. African whites, threatens to kill leaders

December 08, 1992|By Jerelyn Eddings | Jerelyn Eddings,Johannesburg Bureau

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- A militant black group that claimed responsibility for two recent anti-white terrorist attacks now has declared war on all whites and has threatened to assassinate government leaders.

"White people form part and parcel of the oppressive regime, which makes them a legitimate target," said a caller who identified himself as Congo Jibril, a deputy commander of the Azanian People's Liberation Army, or APLA.

The APLA, which is the military wing of the radical Pan Africanist BTC Congress, said President F. W. de Klerk and some of his Cabinet members had been "targeted for destruction." It specifically mentioned Hernus Kriel, minister of law and order.

"We want to make it clear that should the leadership of the PAC be harassed or arrested in one way or another, Hernus Kriel himself will be a casualty," the APLA caller said in a telephone interview late Sunday with the South African Press Association.

The caller said the Azanian People's Liberation Army would intensify attacks against whites "so that they can cease their support of the South African Police and the South African Defense Force."

He said 19 cities had been targeted for attacks, including Cape Town and Pretoria, the nation's legislative and administrative centers. Only nursery schools and primary schools would be exempt, he said.

Nelson Mandela's African National Congress, which never targeted white civilians during its low-level guerrilla campaign against the government, strongly condemned the attacks.

"We condemn any use of force against civilians, whether black or white, and we think it is unacceptable that innocent civilians should be killed -- for any reason," Mr. Mandela said.

President de Klerk said yesterday his government would do everything in its power to stop the APLA from carrying out its threats.

"Threats like these against any South Africans, regardless of their race, are absolutely unacceptable and reprehensible," he said.

Mr. de Klerk's government has canceled a meeting scheduled for this week with PAC leaders until they take a clear stand on the violence. PAC leaders have tried to convince skeptical South Africans that PAC does not control its military, which is based in Tanzania.

They have tried to distance themselves from the recent assaults without disavowing the APLA, which is thought to be small and until recently was thought to be all talk and no action.

The APLA claimed responsibility for attacks Thursday and Nov. 28 in the eastern Cape towns of King William's Town and Queenstown in which five whites were killed and almost 40 people were injured.

Whites have been confused and horrified by the two recent attacks, which were particularly shocking since they came just as black-white political negotiations were getting back on track after a long delay.

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