A mob wielding guns, knives and clubs burst into a royal residence near Durban on Thursday night and injured a wife and daughter of the Zulu King, Goodwill Zwelithini.
Queen Buhle Mamathe Zulu, 45, one of his five wives, underwent surgery yesterday for head injuries. Her daughter, Princess Sibusile Zulu, 24 was recovering in hospital after being shot in the leg and beaten about the head.
Police said it was not immediately clear whether the attack was linked to the decades-old war between the ruling African National Congress and Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Inkatha party for control of the Zulu homeland.
But observers said Inkatha supporters were the most likely suspects. Inkatha once held great influence over the king, but Zwelithini broke with Chief Buthelezi in 1994 and declared himself above politics.
Mary de Haas, an anthropologist who monitors violence in the area, said: "I am not surprised at the attack, because the King and particularly his wives have been receiving threats for more than a year ...
"There is no doubt the threats are from Inkatha Freedom Party supporters. They will of course deny it, but that is what is happening."
According to police, 10 men armed with knives, clubs and guns stormed into the yard of the royal home just after sunset and attacked six people, including the queen and her daughter and other members of the royal family, at the house near a workers' dormitory controlled by Inkatha.
The queen and Princess Sibusile were the only seriously wounded victims.
The Safety and Security Minister Sydney Mufamadi, an ANC member, ordered the Police Commissioner, George Fivaz, to ensure a speedy investigation of the attack.Reuse content