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Apartheid Cop Admits Killing

June 14, 1999

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ The apartheid state’s most notorious assassin came face-to-face Monday with South African armed forces chief Gen. Siphiwe Nyanda _ and admitted to killing his brother.

Former police Col. Eugene de Kock told an amnesty committee that in 1983 he repeatedly shot in the back Zwelakhe Nyanda, then a local commander of the armed wing of the African National Congress.

The Truth and Reconciliation’s Commission’s amnesty committee can grant amnesty to those who fully confess to politically motivated abuses committed during apartheid.

The killing took place at an ANC safehouse in the small African kingdom of Swaziland. De Kock, who commanded the apartheid state’s Vlakplaas hit squad, is also seeking amnesty for killing ANC member Keith McFadden in the same attack.

At the hearing, de Kock testified he threw a stun grenade through a bedroom window as other security force members broke down a door, then shot Nyanda about seven times after he jumped out of another window and tried to flee, the South African Press Association reported.

Gen. Nyanda, himself a former commander of Spear of the Nation, the ANC’s armed wing that fought white rule, observed Monday’s hearing but did not testify or speak with his brother’s killer.

``My brother was a freedom fighter ... and he expected as we all did that something like this could happen,″ Nyanda said.

He added that it was ``painful to listen to the gory details″ of his brother’s death but said his family would forgive de Kock and six other former South African security force members seeking amnesty in the attack, but only if they made full disclosures.

The appearance of Nyanda and de Kock at the hearing in Pretoria, the capital, underscores how much South Africa has changed since white rule collapsed with the nation’s first all-race elections in 1994.

Nyanda, who had been chief of staff of Spear of the Nation and planned attacks in Pretoria, Johannesburg and other urban areas, took command of South Africa’s integrated armed forces from a white commander last year.

De Kock headed the police department’s Vlakplaas counter-terrorism unit from 1985 to 1993, during which time it allegedly murdered at least 70 people. He is serving two life terms plus 212 years in prison for some of those killings.

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