SECURITY forces in the black homeland of Ciskei opened fire yesterday on African National Congress (ANC) supporters protesting the military government. At least 15 people were reported killed at presstime.
The 20,000 ANC supporters, led by ANC Secretary-General Cyril Ramaphosa, union leader John Gomomo, and Communist Party Secretary-General Chris Hani, had vowed to march through Bisho to protest the Ciskei government.
Ciskei ruler Oupa Gqoza, who seized power in a military coup in March 1990, had vowed Sunday that marchers would not enter his territory. Shooting broke out as the demonstration approached the Ciskei capital.
As reports of the shooting emerged, President Frederik de Klerk adjourned a meeting with allied political groups in Pretoria and held emergency talks with government officials.
South African Foreign Minister Roelof "Pik" Botha told reporters in Pretoria the situation in Ciskei was critical.
Ciskei is one of several independent homelands set up by Pretoria under apartheid to create separate nations for blacks.