Police Investigate Death of 13-Year-old, Winnie Mandela Link
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) _ A shooting attack that killed a 13-year-old girl at her Soweto home may be linked to the controversy surrounding Winnie Mandela, police said Thursday.
The killing Wednesday night was the fourth in two months involving people connected to Mrs. Mandela and her unofficial bodyguards, known as the Mandela United soccer club.
Mrs. Mandela’s husband, jailed African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela, met for more than four hours Thursday with three anti-apartheid lawyers at a prison farm near Cape Town. One of the lawyers, Dullah Omar, said no details of the discussions would be disclosed.
Mrs. Mandela has denied media speculation that her 30-year marriage is in jeopardy because of her estrangement from major anti-apartheid groups.
Last week, leading anti-apartheid activists accused Mandela United members of conducting a ″reign of terror″ in the vast black township outside Johannesburg and said Mrs. Mandela should be ostracized.
Police said the Soweto girl, whose name was withheld, was killed when gunmen fired on her house with AK-47 rifles and set the dwelling aflame with a firebomb.
A few hours before the attack, a woman living in the house was detained in connection with the stabbing death last week of Maxwell Madondo, a member of the soccer club. Plice declined to identify the arrested woman.
″The possibility that the attack on the house may have a bearing on the murder of Mr. Madondo and is possibly a revenge attack is being investigated,″ police said.
Madondo’s body was found near the house that was firebombed. A former soccer club member, Andrew Ekaneng, has been charged in the killing.
Two other people with links to Mrs. Mandela and her bodyguards have been slain recently in Soweto.
Stompie Seipei, a 14-year-old activist, was allegedly beaten at the Mandela home by Mandela United members. His decomposed body was found in January. Two members of the soccer club have been charged in the slaying and the abduction and assault of three men.
Dr. Abu Baker Asvat, an activist, was killed at his Soweto clinic last month. Two men have been charged in the shooting death, and police have said they believe the motive was robbery. However, Mrs. Mandela has suggested Asvat may have been killed because he had examined Seipei and other youths who she said were sexually molested by a Methodist minister in Soweto.
The Rev. Peter Storey, the senior Methodist official for the Johannesburg- Sow eto region, on Thursday reiterated the church’s denial of the sex allegations.
″The church particularly resents recent suggestions that it is involved in a conspiracy with the police to frame the Mandela United soccer team,″ he said.
Mrs. Mandela has denied complicity in any wrongdoing, has suggested that Seipei is still alive, and has asserted the controversy results from a campaign to discredit her.
In another development, police banned a rally Thursday intended to show solidarity with black detainees who have staged hunger strikes to protest being held without charge.
More than 300 people, mostly students, had gathered in an auditorium at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg when police officers entered the hall and said the meeting had been banned.
Student leaders, faculty members and administrators from at least five universities have fasted in support of the hunger strikers.
Hundreds of detainees have gone on hunger strikes at several prisons across the country over the past four weeks to demand that the government free them or charge them.