White racists held in bomb plot raid

South African police have broken up a plot by white supremacists to plant explosives in black townships, the police minister said yesterday, just a month after the murder of a prominent white separatist.

Minister Nathi Mthethwa also promised that extremists would not be allowed to disrupt the soccer World Cup, which is due to start in June and is expected to draw 300,000 visitors from outside the country. Sixteen years after the end of apartheid, Africa's largest economy still struggles to overcome racial divisions.

Tensions rose again last month when separatist leader Eugene Terre'blanche was murdered on his farm over an apparent wage dispute with workers. Members of his Afrikaner Resistance Movement initially made threats of revenge that they later retracted.

"Police swept in a number of areas and some of the people had caches of arms and ammunition, paraphernalia," Mr Mthethwa said about raids last month. In Pretoria "some of the people that were arrested were planning to... go test some of that explosives in any black township," he said, declining to give details.