South African police on Thursday foiled a plot by right-wing extremists to bomb black townships countrywide ahead of the Soccer World Cup as several of them where arrested.
Police arrested five far-wing suspects in swoops across the country in which they seized caches of firearms, including explosives, illegal guns and ammunition, reports today have indicated.
Police minister Nathi Mthethwa is quoted saying a group of white extremists where planning to plant the explosives mainly in Soweto.
“They were planning to go test some of their explosives in any black township,” Mthethwa is quoted telling journalists.
Mthethwa said suspects were detained as part of a police sweep of several areas after the end of a gun amnesty last month.
“It’s not one group of people who’ve been arrested around this period. It’s quite a number of them,” he said.
The arrests follow the killing of white supremacist Eugene Terre’Blanche last month which inflamed race tensions amid initial calls for revenge from his far-right movement that were later retracted.
Terre’Blanche’s murder prompted fears of racial violence ahead of the World Cup tournament which starts on June 11 amid lingering divisions 16 years after the fall of apartheid white minority rule.
According to reports Mthethwa allayed fears that the extremists pose a danger to the state saying there would be no disruptions to the World Cup.
“Nobody will disrupt the World Cup… they won’t do that because we are
monitoring everything in the country,” he said.
He said teams at the World Cup next month will be provided with specialised police units with additional security for high risk teams and matches.