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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mandela's Party Tells Of Attacks

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- A cross-border raid into Lesotho by South African security forces had just killed 42 African National Congress supporters. So the ANC's president gave the order: Bomb air force headquarters.


Nineteen people died in the 1983 blast, including 11 military officers.


In the litany of bombings, murders and torture that were described by the ANC on Monday, this symbolized the climate that provided the organization's feeling that it was at war -- and the justification for the sometimes brutal actions of its members.


"With the increasingly indiscriminate attacks on neighboring states and the viciousness of attacks on South African civilians by the security forces, it was decided by special operations command to attack military personnel," the ANC said.


The thinking behind the attack was included in a 139-page submission Monday to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which also questioned top ANC officials, including Vice President Thabo Mbeki, Defense Minister Joe Modise and Justice Minister Dullah Omar.


Most of the incidents were divulged in previous ANC reports to the commission, which is headed by former archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu, and can grant amnesty for politically motivated crimes.


In all, this submission detailed 550 armed actions carried out by its armed wing, the Umkhonto we Sizwe, or Spear of the Nation, and another 100 incidents that may or may not have been committed by its operatives.


It tried to put the attacks into a political context, saying civilians were never targeted but that it gradually accepted that such casualties were unavoidable.