- (Photo: Reuters/Siyabulela Duda/GCIS)
Four suspects have been arrested after trying to set off a bomb at the African National Conference political party convention.
The four suspects arrested were white, right-wing extremists that may have been attempting to interfere with the coming elections. Authorities believe that the attackers were targeting ANC President Jacob Zuma, who is highly favored to win the 2014 elections.
The men, who now face treason and terrorism charges, were arrested in separate locations throughout South Africa on Sunday, according to the Associated Press. They developed a plan called "the Slaughter of Mangaung," prosecutors said, which included the use of mortars and machine guns to allegedly kill people at the University of the Free State, where meetings for the conference were being held.
Prosecutors believe that a dining hall at the University was the intended target; the men had previously taken pictures of the hall, according to the report. The names of those arrested, Mark Trollip, Johan Prinsloo, Martin Keevy and Hein Boonzaaier, were released on Tuesday.
Prosecutors said that group was attempting to create a new party called the Boere Party, "Boere" being a term that is sometimes used to refer to "whites" in the area. The party would bring back the ideals of the country's previous all-white government that existed before the first democratic election in 1994.
The conference began on Sunday under tight security.
"President Zuma, 70, overwhelmingly won re-election as the ANC's president Tuesday after facing a challenge from his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe," AP reported.
Two of the men arrested were confirmed as members of the Federal Freedom Party (FFP), "which campaigns for the self-determination of South Africa's white Afrikaner minority" according to a BBC report. The party confirmed the connection, while denying any involvement.
"We were not involved and do not associate ourselves with their actions," FFP national secretary Francois Cloete told Reuters.