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White Farmer Killed near Mozambique Border

December 18, 1985

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A white man was killed on his farm near the Mozambique border, increasing fears Wednesday of stepped-up guerrilla attacks and retaliatory strikes by South Africa at its black-ruled neighbors.

Police reported rioting against apartheid Wednesday in six townships, but no deaths. More than 900 people have been killed in nearly 16 months of violence over the laws with which 5 million whites rule South Africa’s 24 million blacks, and thousands have been wounded.

Police said the 39-year-old farmer, Lukas Marais, was shot down Tuesday night when he went into his yard to investigate a power failure. Cutting electric and telephone lines to lure farmers into the darkness are common guerrilla tactics.

Two pro-government newspapers, Die Vaderland and Die Transvaaler, said without attribution that guerrillas killed Marais and that police found shell casings from an AK-47 assault rifle near the scene.

Maj. Jic Janneke, a police spokesman, said he could not confirm the reports.

South African guerrillas favor Soviet-designed AK-47s, but some common bandits also use them.

Six members of two white farm families were killed and five wounded Sunday when their truck hit a land mine planted by guerrillas near the border with Zimbabwe. Defense Minister Magnus Malan said afterward that his forces will strike whatever nation is believed to harbor insurgents.

The U.S. Embassy sent a political officr to the funeral two weeks ago of 13 blacks killed by police, but a spokesman said no representative would be sent to services Thursday for the six whites.

″The ambassador (Herman Nickel) is sending a private message to the families which expresses our shock and sympathy over these acts of violence,″ the spokesman said Wednesday night.

The government says African National Congress guerrillas slipped across the Limpopo River, which forms the border with Zimbabwe, three weeks ago to plant mines in lonely farm roads. The ANC acknowledges planting the mines but says its men are based inside South Africa.

One man was killed and seven people were wounded by explosions shortly after the mines were planted.

Mozambique’s Marxist government has a non-aggression treaty with South Africa, and insurgent attacks from the Mozambican side of the frontier dropped to near zero after it was signed in March 1984. Before that, South African authorities described cross-border guerrilla attacks as regular occurrences.

South Africa has sent commandos against alleged guerrilla bases in Mozambique several times and into the capitals of Lesotho and Botswana in search of insurgents.

Two television cameramen working for a British agency, World Television News, were to appear in court Friday on charges of inciting riot. It is the most serious carge the government has brought against journalists since restricting on news coverage.

The government contends that the presence of reporters encourages riots, but the bloodshed has not abated since the restrictions took effect Nov. 2.

Cameramen John and Patrick Lucey, white South African brothers, were arrested Tuesday night near the black district of Moutse.

Maredi Chueu, a community leader in the district, said he was with the Luceys and they were filming a burning building.

Clashes between rock-throwing youths and police firing tear gas already had begun and the cameramen ″were caught in the cross-fire ... They were in no way responsible,″ Chueu said.