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Car Bomb Kills Two Black Men, Injures 42 Others

October 24, 1988

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

Capt. Ruben Bloomberg, a police spokesman, 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.

Windows in nearby buildings were shattered by the blast, and about 16 cars were damaged.

Bloomberg initially said a man and a woman were killed. He later said both victims were black men. He said the injured included 23 whites and 19 blacks, including a woman who lost her left foot.

Bombings and hand-grenade attacks have occurred in South Africa at a rate of more than one a day since early September. Police say most of the attacks 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, which is fighting to end white rule, has said it seeks to undermine the elections but has neither claimed nor denied responsibility for specific bombings.

Police said today that doctors operated on a suspected ANC guerrilla who was arrested Satuday while allegedly carrying a limpet mine toward a ceremony presided over by Law and Order Minister Adriaan Vlok.

The suspect, who has not been identified, complained of dizziness after his arrest and later underwent an operation at Cape Town’s Groote Schuur Hospital for a brain hemorrhage, police said.

An investigation into the reasons for the man’s hospitalization was being conducted, police said.

The man was arrested shortly after Vlok arrived to open a new police station in Crossroads, a shantytown that the government tried several times to destroy before making it a legal township.

South Africa’s 26 million blacks have no vote in national affairs. The country’s 5 million whites control the economy and maintain separate districts, schools and health services.

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