Walus 'linked to intelligence'

Johannesburg - Janusz Walus, the Polish-born emigre charged with the murder of the African National Congress leader Chris Hani, was a member of a South African neo-Nazi movement with possible links to state intelligence agencies, according to fresh evidence unearthed yesterday, writes John Carlin.

Senior ANC officials said privately they were convinced that Mr Walus was a cog in a large wheel spun by elements in the state apparatus. Mr Walus had previously been engaged in business deals with the military. They believe that a network of far-right groups with which Mr Walus was involved was infiltrated by the intelligence services of the security forces.

Mr Walus is a member of Eugene Terreblanche's Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) but, it was learned yesterday, belongs also to the Afrikaner National Socialist Movement (ANS) which comprises some 4,000 members, several of them East-European born. The ANS leader, Koos Vermeulen, also heads the World Apartheid Movement, which said on Monday it would pay Mr Walus's legal costs.

Mr Vermeulen, who celebrates Hitler's birthday every year, was closely associated with Adriaan Maritz and Henry Martin, who were charged with carrying out a bomb explosion in a black taxi rank in Pretoria in 1990 and with the murder of an ANC supporter in Durban that year who died instantly when an explosive device hidden in a computer blew up in his face. Mr Vermeulen was briefly detained over the murder.

Mr Maritz and Mr Martin jumped bail and fled to Britain on false passports. They then announced that they were South African military intelligence operatives, a claim reinforced by Pretoria's lack of interest in extraditing them.

Mr Maritz spoke to the Independent and the BBC in the course of a joint investigation last year in which he repeated his claim to have worked for military intelligence. A British army deserter who trained right-wing paramilitaries in South Africa told us he had worked with Mr Maritz and Mr Martin. He provided details of their alleged involvement in the Durban bombing.

But he singled out a security policeman, Steyl Abrie, as the key figure in the plot, a claim confirmed by Mr Maritz. Yesterday it was learned that Warrant Officer Abrie's father is Colonel Paul Abrie, a security policeman notorious for his savage interrogations in the early 1980s, whose recent assignment was to investigate activities of the far right.

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