Testimony Links Police to S. Africa's Township Violence
NEW evidence surfaced this week linking the South African government and the Zulu-based Inkatha Freedom Party in past township violence.Skip to next paragraph
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This development comes during the most serious resurgence of political violence since a national peace accord was signed six months ago. At least 70 people have died this week.
A white former police officer, Capt. Brian Mitchell, admitted in a long-running court trial in Pietermaritzburg Wednesday that he had ordered hastily trained black constables to fire on members of the African National Congress-aligned United Democratic Front on Dec. 2, 1988 because he regarded them as the enemy in a civil war in which he was fighting on the government's side.
Captain Mitchell, a former station commander, is one of seven policemen - three white officers and four black constables - charged with the murder of 11 people attending a funeral vigil on that date.
In a surprise move Wednesday, Mitchell amended his plea of not guilty. He said he sympathized with Inkatha because "they never made the areas ungovernable and they supported the government."
Mitchell said he had told his superior, Maj. Deon Terblanche, enough of what had happened that his superior should have known that he was responsible for the deaths.
Meanwhile, the Goldstone Inquiry, an independent judicial commission looking into political violence, continues hearing testimony in Pretoria about links between the government and Inkatha in fomenting township violence.
The escalation of violence is mainly between supporters of the ANC and Inkatha in Natal province and the townships near here.