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Body of Zulu Princess Found

April 27, 1996

DURBAN, South Africa (AP) _ The body of a Zulu princess who was hacked and stabbed to death has been found on the grounds of a workers dormitory controlled by the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party.

Princess Nonhlanhla Zulu, 35, disappeared Thursday night during a gang attack on a royal residence in KwaMashu black township near Durban. Her body was found Friday in a soccer field at the workers dormitory, police said Saturday.

The murder is expected to heighten tensions in the region, which has been plagued by political violence.

King Goodwill Zwelithini broke with Inkatha leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi in 1994, and tension between the Zulu royal family and Inkatha has escalated since then.

Officials of the African National Congress blamed Inkatha for the attack. Inkatha denied it was responsible and blamed the attack on criminals.

Thousands have died in years of fighting between the groups for supremacy in the traditional Zulu homeland. Inkatha has controlled the territory for the past 20 years and is resisting what it calls ANC attempts to wipe out Zulu culture.

The ANC accuses Inkatha of resisting democratic rule. Local government elections are scheduled for May 29 but may be postponed due to violence.

Inkatha wants autonomous powers in the territory to preserve the status of tribal chiefs loyal to the party. The local government vote would give elected officials powers now held by tribal chiefs.

One of Zwelithini’s five wives and a daughter were seriously injured in the attack by a gang of men armed with clubs, knives and guns.

Police said they believe the attackers came from the dormitory. Last August, police raided the hostel in search of weapons and exchanged gunfire with residents, killing eight.

Nonhlanhla Zulu is a first cousin of Zwelithini and is considered a princess because she is a direct descendent of 19th century Zulu King Mpande.

Queen Buhle Mamathe Zulu, 45, one of Zwelithini’s five wives, underwent surgery Friday for head injuries suffered in the attack and was listed in stable condition. Her daughter, Princess Sibusile Zulu, 24, also was in stable condition with a gunshot wound to the leg and head injuries.

A minibus carrying members of the royal family to visit the injured wife and daughter overturned Saturday after swerving to avoid a collision with another vehicle. Eight people, including three of Zwelithini’s wives, were injured, police said.