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Weekend Fighting Leaves More Than 50 Blacks Dead

July 5, 1993

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ At least seven blacks were killed in an overnight battle near Johannesburg, the culmination of a bloody weekend that claimed the lives of more than 50 blacks nationwide, police said today.

Police recovered the seven bodies in Katlehong, a black township east of Johannesburg that has been plagued by faction fighting since the 1980s.

Like previous clashes, the fighting appeared to involve township residents who back the African National Congress and Zulu migrant workers who live in hostels and support the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Police cordoned off two hostels after Zulus threatened today to attack township residents, police said. At least eight cars, included a police vehicle, were burned out and several houses were set alight, according to police warrant officer Deon Peens.

Police vehicles patrolling the township were shot at today, but none was hit, Peens said.

A total of 19 blacks were killed in Katlehong over the weekend and nine more died in faction fighting in the neighboring Tokoza township. In the eastern province of Natal, at least 28 deaths were recorded during the weekend.

Many of the deaths in Natal appeared linked to the ongoing ANC-Inkatha feud, which has raged since the mid-1980s. In several instances, entire families were slaughtered.

South Africa’s political violence has claimed more than 10,000 black lives since 1990. It has slowed the black-white talks on ending apartheid, but on Friday, negotiators agreed the country’s first election including the black majority would take place April 27, 1994.

With the current level of violence it would be difficult, if not impossible, to hold fair elections. In areas controlled by either the ANC or Inkatha supporters, opponents would risk attack if they tried to campaign on a rival’s turf.

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