South African Begins Uniting Rival Armies

SOUTH AFRICA took a first step toward the integration of official and guerrilla armies that have fought each other for more than 30 years at a meeting in Pretoria yesterday.

Dries van Heerden, spokesman for the Transitional Executive Council (TEC) set up in December to oversee President Frederik de Klerk's white government, said a new Joint Military Command Council was set to meet for the first time yesterday.

Mr. Van Heerden said commanders of the white-led South African Defense Force, the armed wing of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress, and two black homeland armies would begin work on a framework for integration and joint control.

He said the TEC would have to look at ways to gain control of armed units belonging to conservative black and right-wing white groups that have refused to join the multiparty TEC. The TEC is mandated to monitor the government during the campaign for South Africa's first all-race election on April 27 to ensure a level playing field for all parties.

The South African government on Tuesday said self-defense units aligned to the ANC were out of control and virtually at war with one another in troubled townships east of Johannesburg. The ANC, admitting some of its units were out of control, said it was trying to reestablish its authority over them.

``They are at war with the police, at war with the Inkatha [Freedom Party], and at war with themselves,'' Law and Order Ministry spokesman Craig Kotze told Reuters.

Angola Talks Threatened

The Angolan military, on the eve of planned peace talks, threatened to strike back against rebels for alleged attacks, including a mortar raid on the United States oil support base in Cabinda.

The northern enclave's provincial government accused neighboring Zaire of helping the rebel National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, led by Jonas Savimbi.

UNITA denied responsibility for Sunday's attack on the Cabinda Gulf Oil Company base, which the government says killed two soldiers and caused unquantified material damages.

The government also accused UNITA of attacking a government military base in northern Malange, the southern city of Menongue, and villages in the strategic central highlands and diamond-rich northeast. There was no independent confirmation immediately available of the government claims.

UNITA and the government, at war for almost two decades since independence from Portugal in 1975, were due to resume peace talks in the Zambian capital Lusaka yesterday.

A corruption and drug-trafficking scandal has forced the resignation of Zambia's foreign minister and left the government facing the possibility of more shakeups yesterday.

Scandal Shakes Zambia

President Frederick Chiluba reportedly was considering a Cabinet reshuffle to head off further resignations. Western donors have been pressing him to crack down on high level graft in his two-year-old government.

Foreign Minister Vernon Mwaanga, denying wrongdoing, announced on Tuesday that he had resigned in order to allow investigators to clear him of corruption and drug charges. Mr. Mwaanga played a leading role in the democracy campaign that brought Chiluba to power, ending 27 years of autocratic rule by veteran politician Kenneth Kaunda.

Mwaanga served in Mr. Kaunda's government as an envoy to the US, but later was detained briefly for alleged drug and currency smuggling. The case was never substantiated.

Last month, Finance Minister Ronald Penza acknowledged to Western donors that graft was rife and vowed that steps were being taken to restore donor confidence in Zambia.

Mr. Penza said he and two other ministers in the 26-member Cabinet were ready to resign if Chiluba failed to act against four Cabinet colleagues linked to drug trafficking.

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