South Africa police foil ANC meeting bomb plot

Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:24am EST
 
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By Peroshni Govender

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa (Reuters) - South African police said on Monday they had foiled a plot by suspected right-wing Afrikaner extremists targeting an African National Congress (ANC) conference attended by President Jacob Zuma and dozens of top government officials.

Four men aged between 40 and 50 were arrested on Sunday. A police spokesman said there was evidence they were planning acts around the country and not just at the ANC meeting in the central city of Bloemfontein.

The vast majority of South Africa's whites accepted the ANC's victory in the 1994 election that brought Nelson Mandela to power and ended decades of white-minority rule. However, a tiny handful continues to oppose the historic settlement.

"Their acts are widespread. We arrested them in different provinces," spokesman Billy Jones told Reuters.

ANC spokesman Keith Khoza said preliminary information suggested the men were planning to bomb the marquee where Zuma and 4,500 delegates are holding a five-day meeting to chose the ANC's leadership for the next five years.

"This would have been an act of terrorism that South Africa can ill afford," Khoza said.

The Federal Freedom Party (FFP), a fringe group fighting for self-determination for the white Afrikaner minority, confirmed two of those arrested were FFP members but denied any role in the suspected plot.

"We were not involved and do not associate ourselves with their actions," FFP national secretary Francois Cloete told Reuters.   Continued...