CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, FEB. 10 -- South African Army troops moved into the ostensibly independent tribal homeland of Bophuthatswana today and crushed a military coup that 12 hours earlier had overthrown the homeland's president.
The combined police and Army intervention came after Bophuthatswana's Army commanders, alleging widespread governmental corruption, arrested homeland President Lucas Mangope and detained him and most of his Cabinet in a soccer stadium in the capital of Mmabatho.
South African President Pieter W. Botha, in a statement to Parliament here, said he ordered in troops because he opposes the forcible seizure of power and because Bophuthatswanan officials had asked for help.
Bophuthatswana, whose status as an independent state is recognized only by South Africa, is the showpiece homeland among the 10 tribal reservations established as part of Pretoria's apartheid policy. Six of the homelands have rejected independent status.
Witnesses in Mmabatho, the capital, said that about 20 homeland soldiers who had been holding Mangope surrendered with their hands raised after South African troops in armored vehicles surrounded the stadium.
A witness at the stadium said two helicopters landed a police antiterrorist squad as an armored vehicle carrying South African Army Chief Maj. Gen. Janie Geldenhuys arrived at the scene.
As several armored vehicles crashed through a fence, the security forces stormed the stadium, firing one shot and killing a Bophuthatswanan soldier, the witness said. About 60 homeland soldiers were reported to have been arrested during the assault.
More South African forces moved in and rescued the Bophuthatswanan and South African officials who had been held captive.
There were unconfirmed reports from Mmabatho of more shootings elsewhere in the capital and the deaths of several persons. South African officials said tonight they did not know if there were any casualties during the Army's intervention.
Earlier, the leader of the opposition People's Progressive Party, Rocky Malebane-Metsing, went to the home of the local chief justice with an armed escort and demanded that he be sworn in as president.
Then, after driving around the capital in an Army vehicle, Malebane-Metsing went to the gate of the South African Embassy and handed officials a note declaring that he had assumed power.
A statement by homeland Army commanders charged that the Oct. 27 election in which Mangope was reelected had been rigged, and that Mangope's administration was corrupt.
The Army statement cited Mangope's close association with an Israeli businessman now being held in Israel on charges of spying for the Soviet Union. The Israeli, Shabatai Kalmanovitz, had business dealings with the Bophuthatswanan government and once served as the homeland's representative in Tel Aviv.
President Botha and Cabinet officials including Foreign Minister Roelof F. (Pik) Botha and Defense Minister Magnus Malan flew to Mmabatho tonight to shore up the Mangope government.
The brief coup was the second in six weeks in a homeland, following the successful ouster in Transkei of prime minister Stella Sigcau.
Pik Botha told reporters here before leaving for Mmabatho that South African troops were justified in intervening because of Pretoria's relationship with Bophuthatswana.
"Military and police personnel moved in at the request of the Bophuthatswana government, a government that we recognize, a government with whom we have agreements. They exercised their right to ask for assistance. It was rendered," Botha said.
Botha said some South African security officers who had been stationed in Mmabatho were held captive by the rebels, even though they refused to surrender their weapons.
Botha said that senior officials from the Foreign Ministry and the security forces were flown to the South Arican Embassy in Mmabatho, where they conferred before the Army troops moved in. A number of Bophuthatswanan officials had taken refuge in the embassy, Botha said.
Bophuthatswana is mainly known for its sports events and Sun City gambling casino. It consists of seven landlocked enclaves surrrounded by South Africa and Botswana and has the world's largest platinum mining complex. Its 1.7 million residents have higher per capita incomes than all but five African countries. South Africa supplies 40 percent of its revenues.
Declared independent: 1977
Population: 1.7 million
Area: 16,988 square miles, about the size of New Hampshire and Vermont combined.
Status: One of four tribal "homelands" that accepted nominal independence from South Africa. The others are Ciskei, Transkei and Venda. Only South Africa recognizes their independence.
Background: Under the "homeland" policy, blacks were assigned to tribal groups. When a homeland became independent, its residents lost South African citizenship and became homeland citizens. The Pretoria government announced in 1986 that it would restore South African citizenship to homeland residents.
Resources: One of the world's largest platinum producers.