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Wednesday, 11 December, 2002, 17:57 GMT
S Africa police seize 'ton' of explosives
Mosque in Soweto destroyed by bomb
There has been a spate of bomb attacks in the country
South African police have arrested nine suspected right-wing extremists and seized almost 1,000 kilograms of explosives during a series of raids.

Police believe at least five of those detained are connected to a series of recent bomb attacks in the country.

The explosives... were clearly designed to kill and create mayhem

Sally de Beer
Police spokeswoman
They had been on the run for more than a month, officials said.

An extreme right-wing group Boeremag, meaning Boer Force, had warned of a new spate of attacks over the Christmas season, as part of a campaign to bring down the ANC Government.

The five will be charged with treason and sabotage, police spokesman Selby Mokaba was quoted as saying.

However, he did not identify them specifically as Boeremag members.

"The explosives... were clearly designed to kill and create mayhem," said police spokeswoman Sally de Beer.

Three of those arrested are brothers.

Condemned

The BBC's Barnaby Phillips in Johannesburg says many Afrikaners fear that their language, culture and economic strength are being eroded in the new multi-racial South Africa.

But he says the vast majority have been quick to condemn this apparent resurgence of right-wing extremism.

President Thabo Mbeki
The extremists want to overthrow the government
The police did not say what type of explosives had been seized. Firearms, assault rifles and guns were also found in the raids.

The arrests and seizures were made near Pretoria and in Limpopo province, in the north of the country.

One person was killed and another injured on 30 October in a bomb attack in the black township of Soweto which police have blamed on the Boeremag.

About 20 right-wingers have been charged this year with plotting to overthrow the government, treason and terrorism.

Police have stepped up operations since last month, searching farms and seizing small amounts of explosives.

Many of those arrested are former members of the South African army or police.

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The BBC's Barnaby Phillips in Johannesburg
"(The police) say that they found almost a ton of explosives"

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29 Nov 02 | Africa
28 Nov 02 | Africa
22 Nov 02 | Africa
31 Oct 02 | Africa
30 Oct 02 | Africa
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