SAfrica mass grave may contain ANC militants

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JOHANNESBURG, Sep 21 (Reuters) South African authorities have unearthed a mass grave containing what they believe are the remains of at least four African National Congress militants allegedly killed by apartheid security forces in the 1980s.

The bodies of two young males with multiple bullet wounds were found in the grave outside Rustenberg, 112 km west of Johannesburg, earlier this week, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said in a statement posted on its website.

The bodies of another two men were discovered by the NPA's missing persons investigators in the same grave late today, NPA spokesman Thali Thali told SAPA news agency.

It is believed the four were members of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the military wing of the ANC when it was fighting to end white minority rule in South Africa, and were among a group killed in clashes with security forces in 1985 and 1986.

''These remains will be subjected to forensic examination with a view to establish whose remains they were as well as locating their next of kin,'' the NPA said in its statement. It added that it would continue excavations at the site.

Although a total of 21 bodies were found in the grave, investigators said only the four showed signs of foul play. The rest were likely paupers who had been buried there for convenience, they said.

South African officials have embarked on a campaign to locate the remains of hundreds of anti-apartheid activists who disappeared while fighting the apartheid government.

Among the missing is Kwanda Mbeki, the son of President Thabo Mbeki, who disappeared while attempting to join his father and other anti-apartheid activists in exile. His body was never found.

There were hopes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up by former President Nelson Mandela to probe crimes committed on both sides of the apartheid struggle, would determine what had happened to many of the missing.

The commission ended its work in 2003.

REUTERS GT RK2210

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