JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — South Africa on Friday admitted staging a raid on a black homeland near the Swaziland border in search of black nationalist guerrillas but denied that its forces had entered Swaziland.
The Royal Swaziland police said a number of South African soldiers entered the tiny kingdom Christmas Eve near the southern Luvumisa border post and threatened to attack villagers if they sheltered guerrillas.
An army spokesman in Pretoria firmly denied the report.
But police said officers, supported by army units, Wednesday raided the Ingwavuma area in the semi-independent Kwazulu tribal homeland south of Swaziland because the presence of the outlawed African National Congress "had been detected."
A police statement said arms caches were found.
The Swaziland police were alerted about the proposed action "and there was by no means any incursion into Swaziland territory," the statement said.
South Africa last week denied that its forces were involved in attacks on two homes in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, by an unknown number of men with blackened faces who fired silencer-equipped weapons, killing nine people.
The African National Congress, which violently opposes the white minority government in Pretoria, said six of its members were among the dead.
The Lesotho government ignored a claim from the opposition Lesotho Liberation Army that it was responsible and blamed South Africa for the "unprovoked, armed aggression."
The U.N. Security Council has scheduled a hearing Monday of Lesotho's accusation. Swaziland police said it was not known how many soldiers entered the country. But residents in the border village said they were told that suspected guerrillas entering South Africa would be shot "and we will attack the area from which he came."
Dependent on South Africa
Swaziland, whose economy is heavily dependent on South Africa, has frequently expelled ANC members and said recently that none were left in the country.
In Pretoria, police said they killed three blacks and reported finding the bodies of five men slain in tribal clashes south of Durban, bringing to 63 the number of people killed in three days of fighting between Zulu and Pondo tribesmen.
A senior police official said he expects the death toll to rise much higher as authorities continue to search the rugged terrain of the Umbubulu district, a traditional battleground for the Zulus and Pondos, 20 miles south of Durban.
Security forces opened fire on a large crowd of blacks throwing stones at police vehicles in Steynsburg in the northeastern Cape province, killing three people and wounding one, police said.
Police reported scattered incidents of stoning and arson in black townships overnight. A 16-year-old black girl was slightly injured when police fired birdshot at people throwing stones in Sandbult, about 200 miles north of Port Elizabeth, police said.
Mandela Plans to Return
Meanwhile, attorney Prakdash Diar said Winnie Mandela, wife of jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela, "has every intention of returning to Soweto" on Monday in defiance of a government ban on her presence in the black township outside Johannesburg.
Mandela defied the ban for the first time last week and is due to stand trial Jan. 22 because of it.
"We have made an application to the Supreme Court to try and set aside the (ban) as being unreasonable and invalid," Diar said. "The application is expected to be heard Jan. 7."
He said the lawyers were attempting to prevent her re-arrest in Soweto until the appeal is heard.
Diar added that Mandela was allowed to visit her husband on three occasions in Pollsmoor Prison near Cape Town.
A spokeswoman for the prisons department in Cape Town, Erika van Zyl, said allegations by Mandela that her husband is in solitary confinement is "utter, utter nonsense."