JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — The government Thursday angrily denied allegations that South Africa was behind the plane crash that killed Mozambican President Samora M. Machel and warned its accusers they are playing "a dangerous game."
Machel's death Oct. 19, amid tensions between his country and Pretoria, aroused speculation that South Africa was responsible for bringing down the Soviet-built plane, which crashed just inside South Africa near the Mozambique border, killing Machel and 33 others.
But Defense Minister Magnus Malan denounced the allegations as propaganda when he spoke Thursday at a military parade.
"South Africa was not involved in the crash--in no way. Let this be clear to everyone now," he said.
"The whole matter is going too far. Leaders like President (Kenneth D.) Kaunda (of Zambia) and Mr. (Prime Minister Robert) Mugabe (of Zimbabwe) and others who are spreading propaganda, or allow it to happen, must look a few truths in the face."
On Wednesday, Kaunda leveled the first explicit charge, saying after a meeting of leaders of South Africa's neighbors in Mozambique: "There is sufficient circumstantial evidence for us to hold South Africa responsible directly."