Mozambique Says Its Forces Captured Three Raiding South Africans
MAPUTO, Mozambique (AP) _ Security forces have captured several members of a South African commando group that killed three people in a raid on Maputo, the national news agency reported today.
The news agency, AIM, did not specify the number of people arrested, but said the captives were carrying documents that gave details of Friday’s pre- dawn raid.
A government communique said the attack was aimed at members of the African National Congress, but that the three people killed were Mozambicans. The ANC is the main guerrilla movement fighting to overthrow South Africa’s white-led government.
AIM said Foreign Minister Pacoal Mocumbi told foreign diplomats that the confiscated documents proved the attack on four houses in Maputo was carried out by South Africa’s white-led government.
In a statement late Friday, before Mozambique announced the captures, South African Foreign Minister R.F. Botha said he rejected accusations that South Africa conducted the raid. The South African Defense Force said today it had nothing to add to its statement Friday, in which it declined to comment on ″unsubstantiated allegations of incidents in Mozambique.″
Mozambican officials said the raiders used bazookas and firearms, then fled in boats from a Maputo beach. A government statement described the attack as ″barbaric aggression.″
One victim, 22-year-old Joao Chavane, was a night guard at a house used by the ANC to store clothing for South African refugees in transit, AIM reported. It said his body was burned after he was clubbed to death with an iron bar.
AIM said the other victims, a couple reportedly shot to death in their third floor apartment with silenced revolvers, were killed because the attackers mistook them for ANC members who lived nearby.
The couple’s maid was quoted by the Portuguese news agency Lusa as saying one of the attackers shone a flashlight in the face of Antonio Pateguana and said in English, ″He’s one of them.″
Pateguana, a brother-in-law of Mozambique’s armed forces chief of staff, shouted ″I’m not from the ANC, I’m Mozambican,″ but he was immediately gunned down, Lusa quoted the maid as saying.
His wife, Susana, was killed immeditately afterwards, according to the report. She was the sister-in-law of Mozamibque’s minister of culture, who has cut short a visit to the United States to attend her funeral in Maputo on Monday.
A U.S. State Department spokesman, Charles Redman, said the troops locked the couple’s small children in other rooms before shooting their parents. Redman said available evidence ″points clearly to South Africa as the instigator of this premeditated and especially brutal attack.″
Lusa quoted a diplomatic source as saying Mozambican security forces pursued and wounded one the commandos near the ANC offices in Maputo, capturing him close by. Two others from the same group were seized near a beach after a chase, the report said.
South African units have over the years repeatedly raided ANC centers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique in an effort to prevent the infiltration of black guerrillas into South Africa. The last such raid was on April 25, when South African troops killed five people in Livingstone, Zambia.
Mozambique has accused South Africa of violating their 1984 security pact by continuing to support guerrillas opposed to President Joaquim Chissano’s Marxist government. South Africa has denied it.