JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Police today found the bodies of five blacks killed in "necklace" slayings--a common practice in which burning tires are placed around the bodies of people suspected of collaborating with the government--in one of the bloodiest multiple killings in 17 months of violence.
The five were killed in the black township of New Brighton outside Port Elizabeth in the eastern Cape province. A Port Elizabeth newspaper attributed the slayings to political in-fighting between rival black anti-apartheid groups.
Local police spokesman Col. Gerrie van Rooyen said it was "definitely the worst case we've ever had of this type of mass killing. We haven't got a clue who the victims are."
All five had their hands and feet bound and charred tires around their bodies. Additional tires had been thrown on the victims, who were grouped together to make a funeral pyre, he said.
Apparently Slain Sunday
Van Rooyen said the five were apparently killed late Sunday, but the bodies were not recovered until this morning.
In a separate development, Winnie Mandela on Sunday said her imprisoned husband, Nelson Mandela, inspirational leader of South Africa's 24 million blacks, "will be released," but said she did not know when.
Mandela, when asked whether her husband's release is a question of "when" rather than "if," replied: "Yes, that is correct."
But it did not appear that the 67-year-old leader of the African National Congress black guerrilla group, who has been serving a life sentence since 1964 on a conviction of plotting sabotage, will be freed soon.
In an interview today on "CBS Morning News," Mandela said that upon release her husband "will resume his leadership of the oppressed people of South Africa."
"He intends to go home and not to any foreign land," she said.