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Head of S. African Black Homeland Unhurt in Armed Attack on Home

February 20, 1987|Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Security forces in the black homeland of Ciskei repulsed an attack Thursday on the president's house by soldiers from a rival homeland who sought to take the leader hostage, Ciskei officials said.

President Lennox Sebe and his family were not hurt, the officials said.

Ciskei government spokesman Headman Somtunzi said guards killed one of the 25 attackers, wounded another and captured one of their leaders.

Somtunzi said the attackers were Transkei soldiers armed with machine guns, mortars and hand grenades. He said they had planned to take Sebe hostage to force a merger of Ciskei and Transkei, both inhabited by the Xhosa tribe.

Transkei's foreign minister, Caleb Songca, said his government knew nothing about the attack.

Ciskei and Transkei are two of four tribal homelands designated as independent by South Africa but not recognized by any other nation. They are impoverished one-party states led by strongmen who cooperate with the white authorities in South Africa.

2 Homelands Feuding

Ciskei has been feuding with Transkei for several months over the fate of President Lennox Sebe's brother, Charles, and announced Wednesday that all Transkeians in its territory must leave by Aug. 31.

Somtunzi said the attackers arrived at 2 a.m. at the presidential compound in the Ciskei capital of Bisho in a disguised Transkei troop carrier, a jeep and at least one private car.

Other reports said the shooting broke out about 3:30 a.m. The South African Broadcasting Corp. said gunfire lasted for at least 30 minutes.

Somtunzi said presidential guards killed a Transkei soldier and captured Maj. Nkosinathi Sandile, formerly Ciskei's military security chief.

Led Abduction Mission

Last month, Transkei authorities presented Sandile at a news conference, where he said he had been captured in Transkei while leading a mission to abduct Charles Sebe, who had been given political asylum in Transkei after escaping from a Ciskei prison last September.

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