3 Killed After South Africa Warns of Tougher Action Against ‘Radicals’
Three people, including a 10-year-old boy, were shot to death by South African police Wednesday after the government warned that its security forces would not be intimidated by “radicals” and would take even tougher action than before to end the country’s civil unrest.
Two people were killed outside Cape Town when police repeatedly fired shotguns to disperse crowds of Colored (mixed-race) they said were throwing stones and firebombs at them and attacking nearby stores and passing cars. The third victim, a 21-year-old black, was killed near Bethall, 100 miles southeast of Johannesburg, after a mob stoned and firebombed police there.
The 10-year-old boy, shot in Elsie’s River, a predominantly Colored community 15 miles east of Cape Town, had been on an errand for his mother, witnesses said, when he was caught in a crowd police said had been throwing stones. He was killed and a 12-year-old companion seriously wounded, witnesses said, when police fired shotguns at the crowd.
In Valhalla Park, a segregated Colored township outside Cape Town, a police patrol was attacked several times with stones and bottles and had to shoot its way out, according to a police spokesman in Pretoria. In one of these incidents a man was killed, and in another a woman was seriously wounded.
Clash Over Schools
Throughout the day, police clashed with Colored youths seeking to reopen schools the government closed two weeks ago as “hotbeds of unrest.” Nearly 50 persons have been killed in Cape Town since the unrest there began Aug. 28.
In the city’s central district, police wielding whips broke up a demonstration outside the main police station by 50 relatives of anti-apartheid activists detained in the last month without charge under South Africa’s severe security laws. The laws permit people to be held in solitary confinement indefinitely without trial.
The demonstrators were seeking assurances that their relatives were safe, in light of recent allegations that prisoners have been tortured and beaten frequently.
During the demonstration, 20 people were arrested on charges of participating in an illegal gathering. A number of passers-by were caught in the melee as police, whips lashing out, charged down the street in pursuit of the protesters.
Violence at Funeral
In Atteridgeville, a black ghetto outside Pretoria, the national capital, police arrested 23 people when the funeral for a 4-year-old girl erupted in violence. She was killed by a rubber bullet fired by a policeman into her home last week.
Atteridgeville residents said police broke an agreement to stay away from the funeral and began to disperse the mourners with tear gas, but police said they acted only after 200 to 300 youths began to stone them and threw a firebomb at a shop there.
The tough police action followed a warning on state-run Radio South Africa that the police will not “be intimidated into allowing radicals to take over” the country’s black townships and that “effective police action” will be taken to end the continuing unrest.
In Cape Town, the new police commissioner, Brigadier C. A. (Blackie) Swart, had declared on Monday that the police would react “with all the force at our disposal” to the riots there.
Meanwhile, South African defense headquarters in Pretoria announced Wednesday that its task force in Angola, about 500 troops in 12 motorized armored units, had pursued Namibian guerrillas of the South-West Africa People’s Organization about 20 miles into Angola, destroying one camp and an arms cache.
South African warplanes had bombed the guerrillas’ forward headquarters, the Defense Ministry said, but the results were not yet known. No casualties have yet been reported from the operation.
Military spokesmen, who previously boasted that South Africa had destroyed the guerrillas’ ability to launch any serious attacks, claimed that units in the border area were reinforced recently in preparation for a major offensive.
But, in contrast to assertions Monday that this was a preemptive strike, the spokesmen now describe it as “a follow-up operation” stemming from the capture of two guerrillas last week in Namibia (South-West Africa), which Pretoria continues to rule as a trust territory in defiance of U.N. resolutions calling for its independence.