In an attack similar to one earlier this year that was attributed to black nationalist urban guerrillas, armed men assualted a police staion in the nearby black township of Soweto early this morning, leaving two black policemen dead.
In the first attack on May 3, pamphlets urging support for South African blacks' oldest political movement, the banned African National Congress, were scattered at the scene. While no leaflets were left today it is likely that the congress is responsible since it is the only organization thought capable of such a protest against the white-minority government.
The attack comes at a time when the government has embarked on a program to reduce discrimination against blacks in the economic and social, but not the political fields.
An important objective of the government's program is to foster a black middle class. Blacks who cooperate are regarded by militant blacks as legitimate targets for reprisals.
Reacting to the raid, the South African Council of Churches, one of the few organizations that offers a political voice for blacks, said it has "consistently deplored the use of violence" but warned that "thousands of black people are becoming desperate because of the inhuman and oppressive conditions under which the aparthied laws force them to exist."
According to a police spokesman four to six men approached the Orlando police station just after midnight, threw grenades and shot at police who came to investigate.
Police said the attackers used Soviet-made rifles and grenades. The Soviets support the banned congress.
Police described the May raid on Morka barracks as the first of its kind. It was regarded as a significant development in guerrilla warfare that the police expect to increase.