A bomb believed planted by black guerrillas ripped through a crowded supermarket in Durban on Monday, wounding 18 people in the 17th rebel bombing since the white-led government imposed emergency rule June 12, authorities said.
The explosion in the Pick ‘n’ Pay supermarket shattered windows, destroyed counters and sent shoppers fleeing into the parking lot.
“The whole place was filled with smoke,” Durban resident Larry MacDonald said. “There was chaos. People were screaming and running out of the complex.”
The bomb demolished the front windows of the store and tore a hole in the ceiling, said Vernon Mitchell, general manager of the chain of stores.
Deposited at Counter
He said the bomb was deposited at the counter where customers leave their their bags and packages while shopping. The counter and a nearby cigarette and candy kiosk were destroyed.
The government Bureau for Information said in Pretoria that a 20-year-old white woman was seriously wounded in the explosion. A 3-year-old girl was also injured.
Another 16 people, 10 of them blacks, were slightly hurt in the explosion at the crowded supermarket in Montclair, 10 miles south of the Durban city center on South Africa’s eastern coast.
No group or individual immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing, the 17th since President Pieter W. Botha declared a nationwide state of emergency June 12 in a bid to curb the country’s racial violence.
Soviet Limpet Mine
Bureau of Information spokesman Leon Mellet said the blast was caused by a 6.5-pound Soviet-made limpet mine planted by rebels from the African National Congress.
The government has blamed the outlawed black guerrilla group for 16 other bomb attacks that have killed seven people and injured about 150 since June 12.
More than 2,200 people, the overwhelming majority of them black, have been killed since a wave of violence over the white-minority government’s policies of racial separation, known as apartheid, erupted in September, 1984.