A battle early Saturday between supporters of rival black movements in Johannesburg's Alexandra township killed at least 10 people and injured 34, police and medical sources said.

One of the dead men been "necklaced," burned to death by having a gasoline-soaked tire hung around his neck and set on fire, police spokesman Col. Frans Malherbe said.Hundreds of police officers and soldiers had been sent to the township, just north of Johannesburg, to avert further conflict, Malherbe said, describing the atmosphere as "explosive."

Leaders of the rival African National Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party were hoping to begin peace talks, he said.

The fighting came less than a week after supporters of the exclusively Zulu Inkatha attacked followers of the multi-tribal ANC at a workers' hostel in Soweto, across the city, leaving 21 people dead and 15 injured.

South Africa's factional violence prompted Inkatha President Mangosuthu Buthelezi to tearfully apologize in public Thursday for any blame Inkatha might bear. A joint call Jan. 29 by him and ANC Deputy President Nelson Mandela for an end to the conflict has had no effect.

The fighting in Alexandra began about 5 a.m., when "groups of ANC and Inkatha people started battling in streets and around houses," Malherbe said. He said police "have no idea who is to blame."

The combatants had used spears, clubs, and hatchets and clashed for about two hours, he said.