South African police said Thursday a 13-year-old black girl died in a hail of rifle bullets, apparently the latest victim in a brutal death cycle linked to bodyguards of disgraced activist Winnie Mandela.
In the attack Wednesday night, gunmen also firebombed the girl's house, situated on a street where one of the bodyguards, Maxwell Madondo, was stabbed and stoned to death last week.A cautiously worded police statement said the possibility that the attack was in revenge for Madondo's murder was being investigated.
Police said the house belonged to a woman who had been arrested earlier on Wednesday in connection with Madondo's death.
The woman and the dead girl have not been identified.
The bodyguards, who call themselves the Mandela United Football Club, have been publicly denounced by black community leaders for inflicting a reign of terror in Soweto, South Africa's largest township, outside Johannesburg.
Their conduct has brought condemnation down on their creator, Mrs. Mandela, wife of jailed nationalist leader Nelson Mandela.
Two bodyguards, including an ex-policeman who describes himself as the team coach, have been accused of murdering a child activist, Stompie Seipei, whose rotting body was found in a ditch Jan. 6.