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S. Africa Charges 2 in Alleged Coup Plot; No Arrests in Blasts

November 02, 2002|From Reuters

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Police, intensifying a search for suspects in bombings blamed on white right-wing extremists, charged two men with treason and terrorism Friday over a separate alleged rightist coup plot.

A number of rightists have been arrested in recent months over alleged plans to overthrow the South African government.

Meanwhile, police said they were following leads about this week's bombings, the most serious since apartheid white rule ended in 1994, but they stressed that they still did not know who was responsible and said no one had been arrested.

"The investigation has been intensified. We are working very hard day and night," police spokesman Phuti Setati said.

Nine explosions Wednesday rocked Soweto township near Johannesburg, South Africa's financial hub, killing a woman. A 10th explosion in a town near Pretoria injured two people.

Analysts say a small right-wing minority wants to provoke a racial backlash by the black-led government, believing this will encourage more whites to push for a separate homeland.

Police said in September that they had uncovered a plot to take over TV stations, police stations, army bases and water supplies and create chaos for which blacks would be blamed.

In connection with the alleged coup plot, Jurie Johannes Vermeulen, 35, and Frederick Johannes Naude, 54, were charged in Pretoria on Friday with treason and terrorism.

They will join 15 other suspects to be tried by the High Court in May.

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