JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Police killed two fugitive African National Congress guerrillas, a man and a woman, in a fierce gun battle, the government said Sunday. One news report called the man South Africa's most wanted terrorist.

''That wouldn't be far wrong,'' Brig. Leon Mellet of the state Bureau for Information said of the description by the South African Broadcasting Corp.

Mellet said the man, Zondi Roland Molapa, and the woman, whose name he did not know, were ''much sought after African National Congress terrorists.'' He said Molapa was wanted in connection with 17 terrorist acts, including a bombing in Johannesburg.

The two were sitting in a car along a road in Katlehong township, near Johannesburg, at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday when municipal police spotted them and became suspicious, Mellet said.

When police approached, the couple began firing Soviet-made AK-47 rifles at them, Mellet said. Security forces who had been monitoring Molapa's movements for some time were nearby and called for reinforcements, and the couple was killed in a gun battle, Mellet said.

He said no police were hurt. Police said they found a missile launcher, ammunition and a limpet mine in the car.

The ANC is the main black guerrilla group fighting the South African government and apartheid, the system of racial separation under which 5 million whites dominate 24 million voteless blacks.

Mellet also said three men were found burned to death in Soweto in the past 24 hours. Two black men were arrested in connection with one of the deaths, he said, but did not elaborate.

A foot patrol near Cradock in Cape province was attacked Saturday with gasoline bombs and fired shotguns at their assailants, Mellet said. Two people were wounded, one seriously, he said.

The reports brought to 180 the official death toll in violence related to anti-apartheid unrest since a nationwide state of emergency was declared June 12.

In New York, a World Council of Churches spokeswoman, Andrea Cano, said Sunday that the group estimated more than 10,000 people had been detained without charges in South Africa under the state of emergency. Human rights groups in South Africa have said the detentions continue and that some of the detainees are being released.

The government has refused to say how many people are being held and has barred publication of their names. It also has barred the media from reporting statements considered subversive and requires official permission to report on security force actions.

In other developments, a bus and car collided in northern Transvaal province Saturday night, killing 15 people and injuring 15 others, the South African Broadcasting Corp. said. Thirteen of the dead were black passengers on the bus and two were teen-age members of a white family traveling in the car, it said. Other details were not immediately available.

The government said 20 percent of the country's 1.7 million black students failed to reregister for classes by last Friday's deadline and will be striken from the rolls.

When classes for blacks resumed July 14 after a midyear break, the government said students would be required to reregister and gave them two weeks to do so.

An estimated 340,000 black students refused to comply and boycotted classes in protest of the state of emergency and new school security rules, including issuance of identity cards. School attendance is not compulsory for black youths, as it is for whites.

The Education Department said 57 percent of black high school students in the Johannesburg area were attending classes, and blamed the poor rate at some schools on ''threats and intimidation.'' Primary school attendance was more than 90 percent, it said.

High school attendance in the Cape province ranged from 50 percent to 90 percent, it said. The department described the attendance rate at all schools in Natal province and the Orange Free State as good to excellent and said attendance was 75 percent or more in the Transvaal.

The City Press, a black Johannesburg newspaper, reported Sunday that students at Lamontville High School outside Durban had torn up the school register Friday. The paper said sources at Langa High School in Cape Town reported students burned registration forms they were given Friday.