Warring Black Factions Blamed as Gunfire Kills 9 in South Africa

From Associated Press

Six men and three women were killed in gunfire at a hostel south of Johannesburg, in what police said appeared to be a fight among black factions.

Police Capt. Eugene Opperman told the independent South African Press Assn. that the attackers fired through the windows of two rooms in the black workers' hostel in Sebokeng on Saturday night.

Four men and three women were killed in the shooting and two other men died later in a hospital; 15 people were wounded. Police said they found several Soviet-designed AK-47 rifles at the scene.

Opperman said that the motive for the attack was unknown. "We can only presume that it is differences among different black groups," he said.

He disputed a township resident's claim that the violence was between supporters of the African National Congress and the conservative, Zulu-based Inkatha Party.

The shooting followed violence in townships around Johannesburg between ANC supporters and other residents.

At least 22 people were killed on July 22 in Sebokeng, after armed Inkatha supporters clashed with residents whom ANC leaders had warned of an Inkatha attack.

Earlier this month in Kagiso, east of Johannesburg, at least 12 people were killed in two days of fighting between Inkatha backers and other residents.

More than 5,000 blacks have died since 1986 in fighting between Inkatha and ANC supporters in the eastern province of Natal.

Fears that the conflict may be spreading to other parts of the country were raised in recent weeks as fighting between Inkatha and opposing groups erupted in areas around Johannesburg.

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