Sinister echoes

2008-06-20 00:00

Mlaba camp near Ulundi has a sinister history. It was here that six 10-ton truckloads of Vlakplaas weaponry were transferred in the mid nineties for what many regarded as the organisation of a private Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) army.

Recently, a large number of men claiming to be members of disbanded IFP self-protection units (SPUs) left Pietermaritzburg for several weeks of training at Mlaba. They were not simply going camping, as suggested by the police. Weapons were mentioned and participants spoke of a future in the national army.

But the latter denies that recruitment is continuing, while the commander of the trainees, some too young to have been SPU members, says high-level IFP officials are involved. This episode contains disturbing echoes of the past and a strong suspicion of illegality. All the parties allegedly involved should come clean immediately and should be shut down.

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