Related topics

Precede JOHANNESBURG Twenty Killed in Overnight Township Attack With PM-South Africa-Schools,

April 4, 1992

Precede JOHANNESBURG Twenty Killed in Overnight Township Attack With PM-South Africa-Schools, Bjt

KATLEHONG, South Africa (AP) _ An armed gang killed 20 people and burned down shacks in this black township to avenge earlier attacks, survivors said today. One said the attackers were African National Congress supporters.

It was one of the worst incidents this year in the chronic violence that has wracked townships.

Police said nine blacks also died in other violence, including seven in a shootout with Soweto police.

A policeman died when gunmen opened fire on his vehicle south of Johannesburg.

In Katlehong, south of Johannesburg, dozens of men ″carrying firearms, petrol bombs and other sharpened objects″ attacked a squatter camp late Friday night, police Lt. Wikus Weber said. He said 20 people, including one woman and two children, were killed and 18 wounded.

Survivors digging through the smoldering rubble of their shacks this morning said the attackers once lived in the area but were driven away in fighting in 1990.

Douglas Madlala, who called himself the squatter camp secretary, said most residents belonged to the Inkatha Freedom Party while the attackers supported the rival African National Congress.

″They said they would get revenge,″ Madlala said.

Much of the township violence is blamed on a power struggle between the ANC and Inkatha, the two main black groups. Thousands of blacks have died in clashes between the groups in recent years.

Madlala and other survivors said the gang entered the squatter camp and immediately began shooting and throwing firebombs. Attackers also hacked people to death, he said.

″Some tried to stop them, but they weren’t able to,″ Madlala said. ″I went to hide myself.″

Township violence began escalating six weeks ago, after President F.W. de Klerk called a referendum on whether whites supported his reforms aimed at ending apartheid. Whites voted 2-1 in favor of the reforms, but the violence continues.

The ANC says the government has instigated the bloodshed or deliberately failed to stop it to destabilize the black opposition movement.

ANC president Nelson Mandela called Friday for an international monitoring force to be set up in townships.

Police Minister Hernus Kriel rejected the demand, saying black leaders must assume responsibility for controlling their followers.

Update hourly