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Coup Over, Leader Back in Power

February 10, 1988|Associated Press

MMABATHO, South Africa — Dissident officers of the Bophuthatswana army ousted the tribal homeland's president early today, but South African forces moved in and restored him to power less than 15 hours later. The South Africans said they had reports of two deaths during the early-morning coup.

"I am back in control . . . thanks to the South African army," President Lucas Mangope said on Bophuthatswana television. He had been kept in a dressing room of the national sports stadium for most of the day. Thirty South African anti-terrorist police, backed by dozens of South African soldiers in armored vehicles, broke down the gates of Independence Stadium in Mmabatho at about 4:30 p.m. Journalists heard one rifle shot during the attack and saw one dead Bophuthatswana soldier.

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