S African `bombers' break out of jail

ROBERT BLOCK

Johannesburg

South African police conducted a desperate manhunt yesterday to track down four right-wing militants who broke out of a jail near Johannesburg at the weekend.

The four men - all suspected of involvement in a bloody bombing campaign on the eve of the country's historic all-race 1994 elections - had sawn through two iron-grille gates and smashed down a steel-bolted door to make their escape.

The audacious breakout, less than three weeks before judgment was to be announced in their cases, capped what appeared to be a heady weekend for South Africa's extreme right.

On Saturday, just hours before the escape was announced, Eugene Terre'Blanche, the fire-breathing leader of the neo-Nazi Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), emerged from months in the political wilderness to announce that the extreme right was alive and well and was planning "resistance" against the government of President Nelson Mandela.

"Peace is not coming, President Mandela," he told a crowd of belligerent supporters in Germinston, east of Johannesburg. "We are going on with the struggle and we will never ever accept this regime. Never."

He reiterated the right-wing call for a white homeland in South Africa, a move long rejected as unacceptable by Mr Mandela. Mr Terre'Blanche, dressed in black fatigues, also suggested that if the government refused to release the bombing suspects then his forces would go in and get them.

Before the speech, Mr Terre' Blanche rode a black horse at the head of a parade of at least 200 khaki-clad members through the town centre as crowds and police and soldiers watched.

The AWB's blundering mock martial antics and the pre-election bombing campaign are today widely regarded as an embarrassment by all but the most unhinged. And while Mr Terre'Blanche and his band of gun-toting farmers are not widely viewed as a significant threat to Mr Mandela's government, there are many active police and military men who are sympathetic to the right-wing cause. The authorities announced yesterday that they were investigating the possibility that the escape of the four suspected bombers was accomplished with inside help.

The four fugitives were among 18 right-wingers charged with involvement in the bombing spree which killed 21 people.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'