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South African Train Attack Injures at Least 13

February 14, 1991

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A gang armed with machetes and knives terrorized passengers on a commuter train Wednesday, injuring at least 13 people who either jumped or were thrown from the train, police said.

The motive for the attacks was unclear, but similar railway violence has been blamed on factional disputes between supporters of the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party.

All of the injured either leaped or were forced off the train traveling from the black township of Soweto to Johannesburg, police said.

A witness told the South African Press Association that two people were killed, but police confirmed only the 13 injuries. Police Capt. Joseph Ngobeni said police were investigating the cause of the attack.

The rival black groups have waged virtual warfare for five years in eastern Natal Province, killing an estimated 5,000 people. Fighting spread to Johannesburg-area townships last August, claiming more than 1,000 lives.

ANC leader Nelson Mandela and Inkatha leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi met last month for the first time in 28 years to sign a peace agreement, but violence between their supporters has continued.

Spokesmen for the ANC and Inkatha condemned Wednesday’s train attack.

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