Mandela attacks Zimbabwean stand

LONDON, MAY 7. The former South African President, Mr. Nelson Mandela, has called on the people of Zimbabwe to take up arms against the President, Mr. Robert Mugabe, a London newspaper reported today.

Speaking at a Johannesburg U.N. conference on children, he condemned those African leaders who used power to enrich themselves while their people go hungry, The Sunday Telegraph reported.

``The public must bring these tyrants down themselves,'' and ``pick up rifles,'' the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former South African President was reported to have said.

Asked whether he was referring to Mr. Mugabe, he said, ``everybody here knows who I am talking about. The situation exists in many parts of the world, especially in Africa.''

Veterans belligerent

A report from Harare said Mr. Mugabe's supporters stepped up their terror campaign against Zimbabwe's black rural voters, threatening violence if his ruling party was defeated in elections later this year.

The latest threat by black war veterans at the centre of a violent land grab came on the eve of a major rally today by the country's main opposition party in a key Mugabe stronghold.

Mr. Mugabe, who publicly backs 1970s liberation war veterans in their seizure of hundreds of farms, has so far resisted diplomatic pressure to end the turmoil and clear the way for free and fair parliamentary elections expected in June.

The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Mr. Richard Holbrooke, met the beleaguered Mugabe for 90 minutes here yesterday, but avoided the land issue. A Commonwealth delegation is due next week to step up pressure on Mr. Mugabe to reimpose the rule of law.

- DPA, Reuters