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De Klerk Warns Extremists Against Fighting Reform

May 09, 1993| From Reuters

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — President Frederik W. de Klerk told white extremists Saturday that they are playing with fire and echoed a warning by Nelson Mandela's ANC that right-wing mobilization could turn South Africa into a new Bosnia.

"Extremists on the left or the right should not underestimate the government's power and its resources," De Klerk said in a statement released in Cape Town.

Both De Klerk and the African National Congress reacted to veiled warnings of armed resistance to political reform from rightists led by four retired white generals.

About 20 right-wing groups met Friday near Pretoria to form an Afrikaner People's Front and called for the immediate suspension of multi-party talks about a transition from white rule to democracy.

Former defense chief Constand Viljoen said right-wing unity is the only alternative for whites to armed struggle.

"The extremist right-wing pressure groups are playing with fire, and violations of the law by their side will be dealt with just as strictly as violations by left-wing extremists," De Klerk said.

Police said Saturday that prominent rightist Clive Derby-Lewis, a former Conservative Party member of Parliament, had been charged with the April 10 assassination of Communist Party leader Chris Hani outside his home.

Derby-Lewis will appear in court Wednesday with his wife, Gaye, and Polish immigrant Janusz Walus, who were earlier charged with the same murder, which triggered widespread violence.

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