South African police today reportedly shot and killed a 15-year-old black and wounded another outside a church in the Soweto ghetto following memorial services for black leader Steven Biko.
It was the first violent death and protests over the death of the 30-year-old Biko. Biko died in police detention nine days ago and there have been charges of foul play.
A reported on the black newspaper The World, said the youth, identified as William Mdladlamba, was shot in the head and died almost immediately at a church in Rockville, a district of Soweto. A teen-age girl was taken to a hosptial with a bullet wound, the reporter said.
"The police went into the church while the service was going on," said the reporter. "Some of the people were beaten and a cross was ripped off the wall. People started running out. They were running in all directions and then the police started shooting."
Soweto police chief Brigadier Jan Visser said earlier that police had fired shots and used rubber bullets and nightsticks to break up groups of stone-throwing black youths in Soweto.
He added: "At this stage we do not know whether anyone was hit."
Students services, said the police also carried sjamboks - leather whips - fired rubber bullets and swung clubs at the crowds of youths.
Police also were reported to have fired shots in Emdeni, another Soweto district, where services were being held at two churches.
The troubles today contrasted with Sunday's large services for Biko which passed without confrontation between mourners and police.
An official cause for Biko's death has not been given, pending completion of an autopsy report. Unconfirmed press reports have said he died of physical injuries, and Prisons Minister James T. Kruger said Biko had been on a week-long hunger strike.
In Alice, 350 miles south of Johannesburg, the 1,210 black students of Fort Hare University who were arrested last week after attending an illegal open-air memorial service for Biko, were given permission to attend his funeral Sunday.
Some 750 men students, charged along with 460 women under the Riotous Assembles Act, paid bail totaling $1,725 yesterday for an early release. They had been ordered held in custody until Monday, the day after Biko's scheduled funeral. The women were released earler on their owns recognizance.
More than 20,000 blacks from all over South Africa are expected to converge on King William's Town to attend the mass memorial service Sunday at the Victoria sports field.
Meanwhile, Zulu chief Gatsha Buthelezi dismissed as "irrelevant" South African Prime Minister John Vorster's decision yesterday to call a general election next November.
"It is clearly a ploy to maneuver all whites into" an unyielding position, said Buthelezi, a key black leader with whom the South African government is negotiating in an effort to carry out its policy of establishing homelands for blacks.