JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — As black leaders argued about who was responsible, 10 more people were killed in the political feuding around the South African city of Pietermaritzburg, police said Sunday.
The fighting, among the most serious in more than a year of almost daily clashes around Pietermaritzburg and the port city of Durban, appeared to mark a further escalation in the violence despite recent peace efforts by local community leaders, clergy and businessmen.
Five blacks were killed when rival groups, apparently supporters of the anti-apartheid United Democratic Front and Inkatha, the predominantly Zulu, conservative political movement under Chief Mangosuthu Gatsha Buthelezi, fought a pitched battle in Mpumuza, a black township outside Pietermaritzburg, the Natal provincial capital. Two more men were seriously injured, police said.
Scene of Heavy Fighting
Three men, apparently Inkatha members, were found stabbed to death at Deda, another black township, which has been the scene of heavy fighting between the rival groups in recent weeks.
Two more bodies, one that of a boy of 13, were found elsewhere, police headquarters said in Pretoria.
South Africa's police and army have so far been unable to end, or even reduce, the political violence in Natal, although a senior official said last week that the police were "working on a plan" aimed at restoring order in the province "soon."
The in-fighting stems largely from rival efforts by the United Democratic Front, a coalition of 750 groups claiming 3 million members nationwide, and Inkatha, most of whose 1.3 million members live in Natal, to claim leadership in the province and consequently in the broader anti-apartheid movement.
About 268 people were killed in the Pietermaritzburg area last year, according to the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Christian Social Awareness, which has monitored the steady escalation in political violence in the area, particularly in the last four months.
Deaths around Durban and other Natal centers would probably match that total, observers there believe, making the province the focus of political violence in South Africa in recent months.
Zulus Blamed for Killing
Archie Gumede, co-president of the United Democratic Front, said Sunday that Inkatha was to blame for "all this terrible killing," attributing it to the group's "forced recruitment" of young members in urban black townships and the resulting counterattacks by those supporting his coalition and not wanting to join Inkatha.
But Chief Buthelezi, the Inkatha leader, responded with new attacks on Gumede, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the African National Congress and others for indulging in what he called "cheap politics."
What Inkatha wants, Buthelezi said, is acknowledgement that it has a place in the anti-apartheid movement with its strategy of nonviolence and dialogue.