White Guerrilla Suspects Appear In Court
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) _ The alleged leader of an all-white African National Congress guerrilla cell gave a clenched-fist salute today as he and two colleagues made their first court appearance.
The three, charged with terrorism, attempted murder and other offenses, were arrested May 8, 1988 at a farmhouse near Johannesburg where, according to police, they had amassed the largest guerrilla arms cache ever found in South Africa.
The alleged leader of the group is Damian de Lange, 31, a former newspaper reporter for the now-defunct Rand Daily Mail.
He raised his fist and shouted ″Amandla″ - the Zulu word for power - as he entered Pretoria Magistrate’s Court.
Appearing with him were Ian Robertson, 37, a South African who allegedly received guerrilla training in the Soviet Union, and Susan Donelly, 24, a British subject who allegedly was the unit’s communications specialist.
The three were not asked to plead during the five-minute hearing, and a request for bail was denied pending another court appearance Feb. 7.
A fourth person arrested at the farmhouse in Broederstroom, Hugh Lugg, did not appear in court Wednesday. Defense attorneys said they expected Lugg would appear as a state witness during the trial.
The courthouse was heavily guarded, inside and outside, by police armed with shotguns. Supporters and relatives of the suspects, including Ms. Donelly’s parents, filled the gallery, and the British, U.S. and West German embassies sent observers.
A SAM-7 surface-to-air missile was among the weapons found at the farmhouse, according to police officials who said it was to be used in an attack on a police helicopter. The suspects also have been linked by police to a bomb blast in March 1988 which injured soldiers on a military bus.
Police headquarters said a bomb exploded today at an electrical sub-station in Durban, causing minor damage and no injuries. The type of explosive device was not identified immediately, but police said a mini-limpet mine - commonly used by ANC guerrillas - was found in a manhole near the blast site.
The ANC has conducted a bombing and sabotage campaign since 1961 aimed at pressuring the government into ending white-minority domination in South Africa. The organization is predominantly black, but several whites have been convicted over the years for participating in its guerrilla campaign.