Public help sought in hunting down bombers

By Time of article published Aug 20, 2000

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Western Cape Safety MEC Hennie Bester on Sunday

appealed to members of the public to come forward with information regarding Saturday night's bomb blast outside a gay bar in Cape Town which left at least one person slightly injured.

The bomb, planted in a car, exploded just before 10pm outside The Bronx bar wounding the club's doorman.

Bester said in a statement that no group or person had claimed responsibility for the attack and it was unclear what the bombers had hoped to achieve.

He praised police for their handling of the matter adding that he trusted every possible lead would be followed up.

Western Cape premier Gerald Morkel expressed his sympathy to the wounded doorman but said he was pleased there were no serious injuries.

A reward of up to R1-million has been offered for information that wil lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the recent spate of bomb blasts in Cape Town.

Saturday night's blast came 15 days after a car bomb exploded outside the Constantia shopping centre in Cape Town.

Police spokesperson Captain Jacques Wiese said the 31-year-old victim, a doorman at the club, had been about four metres from the car when it blew up at 10pm. He was taken to a nearby hospital with

minor injuries.

The windows of the club, on the corner of Napier Street were shattered.

Earlier reports indicated that three people had been injured. Police however, confirmed on Sunday morning that the doorman had been the only victim.

Police were on the scene within minutes of the blast and immediately cordoned off two blocks as explosive experts with sniffer dogs combed the scene for clues.

One irate man, complained that police would not allow him to drive his car away from the cordoned off area.

He said the situation was unacceptable.

A taxi driver, who did not want to be identified, said he was cleaning his car windscreen 10 metres away from the club when he heard a tremendous bang and saw a car burst into flames. He said the flames shot up into the air about two storeys high.

"I got one hellavu fright. All of us taxi drivers were shaking. My heart was still beating fast half an hour later."

A BP service station express shop across the road from the club did a roaring trade as hordes of inquisitive people filled their stomachs with sweets, cold drinks and hot pies.

National leader of the executive board of the Gay and Lesbian Party of South Africa Juan Uys said four other people, apart from the doorman, who had been sitting outside the club when the device detonated, were also injured. Police could not confirm this.

Uys said had the device exploded some two hours later many more people may nave been injured.

Last year his party had received a warning from a group calling itself People Against Prostitution and Sodomy, he said..

"A day after the blast at the Gay Blah Bar, also in Somerset Road I received a call from a man speaking English who said he was from Papas," Uys said.

He asked whether the Gay and Lesbian Association was going ahead with its national conference.

"We were warned not to hold the conference. Why are gay bars being targeted," Uys asked.

He said his three businesses and 20 other gay businesses based in Gauteng had been warned by Papas to shut down within two weeks.

Uys said his party was going to contest the upcoming local elections and would register with the Independent Electoral Commission next week.

The blast happened less than 100 metres from the Gay Blah Bar where a similar incident took place last December and about 500m away from Manos Restaurant where a bomb exploded last Christmas eve injuring seven policemen. - Sapa

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