| 6.7°C Belfast

Minister reveals how IRA agreed to train ANC's military wing MK


Some details of IRA aid to MK, ANC's military wing, were revealed by Kadar Asmal, a South African minister, in a biography published in 2011.

While living in exile in Dublin, Mr Asmal was a member of the ANC, but opposed IRA violence and had no links to Sinn Fein.

So, when the ANC asked him to secure military training from the IRA, he turned for help to Mick O' Riordan, leader of the Communist Party of Ireland.

He wrote that after Mr O'Riordan contacted Gerry Adams, IRA explosives experts gave MK militants a fortnight's training at camps in Angola.

IRA members later carried out reconnaissance on South Africa's Sasolburg oil refinery in preparation for an MK attack.

Loyalist links to the apartheid government culminated in the 1988 importation to Northern Ireland of 200 AK-47 assault rifles, 90 Browning pistols, 500 fragmentation grenades, 30,000 rounds of ammunition and 12 RPG-7 rocket launchers in a shipment from Lebanon arranged by South African officials.

The weapons, imported with the aid of Brian Nelson, a British agent within the UDA, were divided between the UDA, UVF and Ulster Resistance, a protest movement with which the DUP severed all links when news of the arms deal emerged.

In return for the arms connection, the South Africans received plans of ground-to-air missiles being manufactured at Shorts.

Belfast Telegraph