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Blast Kills Two, Injures 42

October 24, 1988

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A car bomb exploded outside a shopping center in the coal-mining town of Witbank, killing two people and injuring 42 others, police said.

The explosion occurred at 8:14 a.m. in the parking lot of a shopping center in downtown Witbank, about 60 miles east of Johannesburg, said police spokesman Capt. Ruben Bloomberg.

Windows in buildings near the blast were shattered, and 16 cars were damaged.

Bloomberg said the injured included 23 whites and 19 blacks, one of them a woman who lost her left foot.

Bombings and hand-grenade attacks have been occurring in South Africa at a rate of more than one a day since early September. Police say most are part of an intimidation campaign waged by the outlawed African National Congress guerrilla movement to disrupt nationwide municipal elections scheduled for Wednesday.

The ANC has said it seeks to undermine the elections but has neither claimed nor denied responsibility for specific recent bombings.

Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has openly defied emergency regulations by calling for an election boycott, condemned the bombing.

″While I regard the struggle to end apartheid as a legitimate one, methods such as this are abhorrent in moral terms and counter-productive in practical terms,″ Tutu said.

The government says election are part of its efforts to ″broaden democracy,″ but activists say the segregated polls only entrench the apartheid policies of racial separation.

Also on Monday:

- Police fired tear gas into dormitories to break up a rally by about 500 students calling for election boycott at the University of the Western Cape outside Cape Town, witnesses said. There were no reports of arrests or injuries at the school, which is made up mostly of ″colored″ or mixed-race students.

- The deputy mayor of the Soweto township outside Johannesburg, Patrick Ndaba, pleaded innocent to charges he murdered his election opponent. Ndaba and another man have been accused of hiring two men to kill David Nkomo, who was fatally shot Aug. 28.

- Police said a suspected ANC guerrilla underwent surgery after complaining of dizziness following his arrest Saturday for allegedly carrying a limpet mine toward a ceremony presided over by Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok. The suspect, who has not been identified, underwent an operation for a brain hemorrhage at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital police said.

- A filmmaker said police had seized a nearly completed documentary film about the impact of South African rule in South-West Africa, the territory also known as Namibia. Kevin Harris said the 58-minute film, ″Namibia: No Easy Road To Freedom,″ was seized last week from a Johannesburg studio where the final version of the master videotape was being prepared.

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