Just days after anti-apartheid leaders disowned Winnie Mandela over allegations her bodyguards killed a young black, police raided her home, arrested four men and reportedly found bloodstains.
State-run Radio South Africa said the four men arrested in Sunday's pre-dawn raid were bodyguards of the wife of jailed African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela."We have found fingerprints and blood samples which will be sorted out in the laboratory," said Maj. Gen. Jaap Joubert, who is leading the investigation into the murder of 14-year-old black activist Stompie Seipei.
He said police would try to prove in court that some young men belonging to the so-called Mandela United Football Club, whose members live at Mrs. Mandela's home and act as her bodyguards, had assaulted the boy who died.
Three Soweto men who are represented by an anti-apartheid attorney have said club members abducted them and Seipei and beat the four at the Mandela house. They claim Mrs. Mandela "was involved" but have not elaborated.
Mrs. Mandela declined to answer reporters' questions on the police raid. She has suggested the whole case results from an effort to discredit her.
Speaking of the raid, Joubert said, "This is a thorough search of the premises where the alleged attacks and assaults took place, according to witnesses." Seipei's body was found last month with a slit throat, dumped in Soweto, the sprawling black township outside Johannesburg.
The scandal over Mrs. Mandela's bodyguards has seriously damaged the credibility of a woman who had been at the forefront of the fight to end white minority rule in South Africa.
Her husband, jailed for 37 years, is the country's most revered black nationalist leader.
On Thursday, major anti-apartheid leaders repudiated Mrs. Mandela because of her association with the soccer club. The president of the exiled African National Congress also publicly criticized her.
The Rev. Frank Chikane, general secretary of the South African Council of Churches, told a news conference Saturday that Mrs. Mandela had decided to remove the bodyguards from her home at her husband's instruction.
Police released a videotape of their raid on the Mandela house. It showed officers, without gloves, searching trunks of clothing, leafing through photograph albums and collections of ANC literature, and lifting up what appeared to be blood-soaked sneakers, a knife and a pair of gardening shears.
Authorities also removed clubs and whips.
The camera focused on spots on the walls of rooms where the detained men lived. Radio South Africa said the spots were bloodstains.