JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — At least 268 blacks were killed in the Pietermaritzburg area of South Africa in 1987, with the vast majority dying in the last four months of the year, according to unofficial figures released Friday.
The death toll in South Africa's worst trouble spot was compiled by a church group monitoring the fast-rising tempo of black-against-black violence in the sprawl of shantytowns stretching west from the capital of Natal province lying along the Indian Ocean.
The final day of 1987 saw 115 blacks arrested and one house burned down but no deaths, according to the daily police bulletin on civil unrest issued Friday in Pretoria.
It was the first day since Christmas that no one died as a result of violence, which has been described by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, as a ghastly spiral of revenge killings. Much of the violence stems from rivalry between the conservative Inkatha organization and the militant United Democratic Front coalition. Both oppose apartheid but disagree on strategy and methods.