Rioting Hits Black Homeland
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ Scores of youths rioted in the capital of the Transkei black homeland Wednesday after a rally for five youths killed in a South African military raid.
Police fired tear gas as the mob looted stores in Umtata, and gunshots also were heard, the South African Press Association news agency reported.
There was no immediate word on casualties.
South African soldiers at 1 a.m. Friday raided an Umtata house suspected of being used by black militants to launch terrorist attacks in South Africa.
Five youths, believed to range in age from 12 up, were killed, to the outrage of black opposition groups and human rights organizations.
The government justified the raid as a strike on militants, but the outcry over the victims’ ages and charges they were killed in bed made the raid a political setback for President F.W. de Klerk, who authorized it.
The Pan Africanist Congress, linked to militants who have attacked whites in South Africa, demanded that political negotiators meeting in Johannesburg discuss the raid. A debate was set for Friday, with Defense Minister Kobie Coetzee and Foreign Affairs Minister Pik Botha expected to attend.
Pan Africanist officials said Sicelo Mpendulo, owner of the house, was not a guerrilla fighter but a Pan Africanist leader and former political prisoner.
They said his 16-year-old twin sons, 12-year-old son and two nephews, 12 and 19, were shot in the head as they slept. Mpendulo was not at home at the time.
Human rights lawyer Brian Currin visited the house Wednesday and said it was clear the youths were shot while lying down.
Transkei is one of four homelands considered independent states by South Africa, though no other nation recognizes their sovereignty.
Political violence is considered the greatest threat to South Africa’s first multiracial election, scheduled for April 27.
Police said they found 10 bodies in black townships near Johannesburg on Tuesday, and nine more people were killed in the same area on Wednesday.
More than 10,000 blacks have died in violence throughout South Africa during the past three years, mostly in fighting linked to a power struggle between the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party.