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The BBC's Greg Barrow
"The victims of the attack may never see justice done."
 real 56k

The BBC's Jane Standley
Some of these pictures may be disturbing
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Wednesday, 8 November, 2000, 00:06 GMT
Brutality charges for SA police
video grab showing suspect being attacked by police dogs
The video showed officers laughing during the assault
By Greg Barrow in Johannesburg

Six white South African policemen have been arrested and charged with attempted murder following the release of amateur video footage which showed them setting dogs on three black suspects.

The footage, shot two years ago, was obtained by the South African Broadcasting Corporation. It shows the policemen laughing and cheering as the dogs savage the men's legs, arms and faces.

suspect being assaulted while on ground
The amateur video was shot in 1998 but only now shown on TV

The South African Minister of Safety and Security, Steve Tshwete, said he was horrified and outraged by what he called the blatant brutality and racism of the policemen concerned.

In a country that has become attuned to violence, even this was shocking.

The video footage shows six white police officers encouraging dogs to attack and savage three defenceless black suspects - allegedly illegal immigrants.

Beating

At several points one of the policemen repeatedly kicks and beats the victims while they are lying on the floor, screaming with pain.

The video footage was shown to Mr Tshwete early on Tuesday. He immediately ordered the arrest of the policemen. All are now in custody, charged with attempted murder.

Mr Tshwete said the action of the policemen was barbaric. He said the fact that such incidents were still going on was a matter of deep concern.

The South African police service has been widely criticised for failing to control rampant crime levels and it has suffered from repeated accusations of brutality and racism.

Last year, the BBC filmed footage of police officers assaulting suspects and stubbing a cigarette out on one man's head. Two white policemen were subsequently fined as a result of their actions.

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30 Aug 00 | Africa
Whites reject Mbeki criticism
19 May 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
The brutal imprint of apartheid
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