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S. Africa Warns Neighbors on Terrorists

September 16, 1987|MICHAEL PARKS | Times Staff Writer

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — After an apparent upsurge in infiltration by suspected African National Congress insurgents, South Africa warned its neighbors Tuesday that they will be held responsible for any terrorist attacks here.

Gen. Magnus Malan, the South African defense minister, told Parliament in Cape Town that "the leaders of the countries from which these terrorists act shall have to take responsibility for their share in the murder and destruction."

South Africa is prepared to retaliate directly against those countries that support the outlawed African National Congress, as well as against suspected ANC facilities there, Malan said, in what the government described as a major policy statement.

Defense headquarters in Pretoria announced that its soldiers killed two suspected ANC guerrillas Tuesday in northern Transvaal near the tribal homeland of Venda and its border with Zimbabwe.

Believed Planting Mines

Over the weekend, three other ANC insurgents, who also apparently had come across the Zimbabwean border, were shot to death in two skirmishes with troops in northern Transvaal, according to defense headquarters. They were heavily armed, defense spokesmen said, and are believed to have planted land mines on farm roads.

Two more guerrillas, also thought to be members of the ANC's military wing, Spear of the Nation, were captured at an army roadblock en route from Botswana with arms and explosives. And an eighth suspected insurgent died last Thursday near Durban when a grenade that he was throwing at police exploded.

Repeatedly Warned Neighbors

South Africa has bluntly and repeatedly told its neighbors, particularly Angola, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, that they risk attack if they provide the ANC with guerrilla bases or other facilities.

But Malan took those warnings further Tuesday, saying that Pretoria would reconsider the "rules of the game in southern Africa" and its overall relationship to its neighbors if they continue what he called "the export of revolution."

"We will not tolerate it now or in the future," he said.

Directing his warnings by name to President Kenneth D. Kaunda of Zambia, Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and President Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, Malan declared:

"Leaders like Kaunda, Mugabe, Chissano and Dos Santos must realize that by condoning such actions, they hold the future of their countries in the palms of their hands."

South Africa in the past has attacked suspected ANC facilities, including offices, transit houses and the homes of supporters, in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe, but generally has avoided clashes with local forces and has expressed its desire to live in peace with its neighbors.

Pretoria has also been frequently accused of attempting to "destabilize" several of its neighbors by supporting right-wing rebels, such as the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola and the Mozambique National Resistance.

Refers to Mozambique

Although it has largely denied the charges, proclaiming its respect for the sovereignty of adjacent countries, Malan said in late June that South Africa would consider requests for assistance from such movements in order to check what he called the Soviet Union's growing influence in the region.

Referring particularly to Marxist-ruled Mozambique, which Pretoria believes is again providing the ANC with guerrilla bases in violation of a 1984 nonaggression pact, Malan told Parliament on Tuesday:

"Mozambique, the South African Communist Party and the African National Congress must understand clearly that revolutionary violence will be fought by South Africa with everything at its disposal."

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