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South African Police Arrest Four Over ANC Attack Plot

South African police arrested four people suspected of planning acts of terrorism, including an attack on the ruling African National Congress’s elective conference, officials said.

The suspects, aged between 40 and 50, “are believed to be right-wing extremists,” the police said in an e-mailed statement. “Their premises were searched and evidence supporting the investigation was seized.”

The detainees were plotting to bomb the ANC’s national conference, party spokesman Keith Khoza said in an interview at the meeting in the city of Bloemfontein in central Free State province. Police spokesman Billy Jones declined to comment on whether the ANC conference was one of the suspects’ targets.

President Jacob Zuma is expected to be re-elected as head of the ANC during its week-long conference that began on Dec. 16. The party has governed South Africa since the end of white-minority rule in 1994.

The Federal Freedom Party, which promotes self-rule for South Africa’s minority Afrikaner people, said its president and a member of its executive council were arrested yesterday for high treason. They have been denied access to their lawyers, the party said in an e-mailed statement.

“The party doesn’t associate with any terror attacks,” Francois Cloete, the Federal Freedom Party’s national secretary, said in a mobile-phone interview. “We are a political party, not a terrorist organization.” He declined to name the two party officials who had been arrested.

The suspects, two of whom were detained in the Free State, were suspected of “widespread” terrorist activities, Jones said in a phone interview. The authorities have yet to determine when the suspects will appear in court, he said.

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