More Bomb Scares At NAM Summit Venue

DURBAN, South Africa (PANA) September 1, Police in Durban say they have been inundated with more bomb threats by those they call ''irresponsible (citizens) to the detriment of the general public.''

In two latest incidents Monday, the police said security operatives were alerted to a suspicious parcel on the first floor of the tourist junction building near the International Conference Centre, venue of the 12th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Dog and bomb disposal units cordoned off the scene and removed the suspicious parcel (a black pack), which the police said was then detonated.

It was, however, found to contain ''clothing, toiletries and other personal belongings and nothing that may have posed danger to the public,'' the police said.

In the second incident, an employee at the same building was said to have alerted security services about an anonymous call claiming that there was a bomb in the building.

But the dog unit found nothing, according to a police statement, which reiterated that bomb hoax constituted a serious criminal offence punishable by law.

The police had previously reported several false bomb scares since the beginning of the summit preparatory meetings Saturday.

Apart from fuelling panic, delegates say the incidents are reinforcing the poor image of Kwazulu Natal as a crime-prone area in South Africa, which officially records some 50 murders a day.

In a related development, Safety and Security Minister, Sydney Mufamadi, Monday, condemned the killing of five people and wounding of two others by criminals in the Ndaleni/Cuba area near Richmond, which is not far from Durban.

He thanked the community for apprehending the suspects, saying such gestures would win the ''fight against crime and violence,'' not only in Richmond, but in Kwazulu-Natal as a whole.