Swaziland tries to halt sorties into S. Africa

The leadership vacuum in Swaziland since the death of King Sobhuza may be providing new opportunity for use of the tiny kingdom as a launching site for guerrilla attacks against South Africa.

This is the view of analysts here who say three guerrilla attacks against South Africa have occurred so far this month - all of them near the Swaziland border.

The most recent took place Nov. 20 when a police station and a South African Defense Force outpost about midway between Swaziland and the South African town of Komatipoort were attacked by a small band of insurgents using machine guns and rockets. The attacks are presumed to have been carried out by the African National Congress (ANC), a black nationalist group seeking the overthrow of South Africa's white government.

Swaziland's policy traditionally has been to admit refugees from South Africa , many of whom are blacks leaving South Africa for political reasons.

However, the Swaziland government is noticeably nervous about these refugees joining forces with the ANC in attacks against South Africa. Swaziland avoids antagonizing Pretoria as it is almost totally dependent economically on South Africa, which surrounds it on three sides. Earlier this month Swaziland warned it would take stern action against refugees who were found with weapons in the kingdom.

Two days after the most recent attack on South African soil, Swaziland Prime Minister Mabandla Fred Dlamini announced that a law last used in permiting 60 days of detention without trial would be put back into use to thwart guerrilla activities. While restating the policy that Swaziland would continue to offer asylum to genuine refugees, Mr. Dlamini also reaffirmed that the government would not allow its territory to be used for attacks on neighboring states.

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