World : Black Seeks U.S. Consulate Refuge

From Times wire services

A South African black activist detained without charge escaped today from a hospital in Durban, caught a plane to Johannesburg and took refuge at the U.S. Consulate to demand his unconditional release, his lawyer and a U.S. official said.

Political detainee Simon Ntombela, 27, sought refuge at the consulate, according to a U.S. Embassy spokesman in Cape Town. He said the U.S. government was in contact with South African officials and hoped to resolve the case quickly.

Six other black activists recently freed from detention but left with harsh restrictions on their political activities sought refuge at the British Embassy in Pretoria at the same time and asked for British pressure on the minority white government to lift the restrictions.