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Pretoria shoot-out: new phase?

The seizure of a suburban bank in which five persons were killed has left South Africa's ruling white minority wondering whether black opposition to segregation is entering a new and violent phase. The anti-apartheid Rand Daily Mall, in a front-page editorial Saturday, condemned Friday's takeover of the bank by three heavily armed blacks, who were killed when police stormed the building. But the paper appealed to the government to forge ahead with racial reforms before the country faced "terrorist war."

The seizure of the Afrikaner-owned bank in the suburb of Silverton was the first such attack on a white business in a white South African city.The gunmen, saying they were members of the outlawed African National Congress, took 25 people hostage.

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Sixteen were injured and the death toll rose to five when a bank customer, the wife of a white policemen, died from bullet and grenade wounds. The raid, the most violent action to date involving guerrillas in South Africa, drew an immediate declaration from the white government that force would be met with force.


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