Amy Biehl killing: PAC expresses its regret

Cape Town, Tuesday 28 July 1998

The Pan Africanist Congress has expressed its regret at the killing of Amy Biehl, whose death in Cape Town several years ago at the hands of four young members of APLA it has described as a mistake.

In a statement released in response to the granting of amnesty to the young men convicted of her killing, the PAC added that the hearts of its members go out to Ms Biehl's parents and all her loved ones in the United States.

PAC Secretary-General Ngila Muendane added: 'The PAC has always maintained that the armed segment of our struggle for freedom was forced on us by the brutal response of the apartheid regime, such as the Sharpeville massacres, to our own peaceful efforts. The PAC hates wars, not least because the major victims are always innocent people.

'In the process of APLA's armed struggle, there were several mistakes that took place in the choice of targets. This was due to several factors such as poor communications, lack of resources, inadequate training of the activists on the ground, general frenzy and desperation of the resistance forces in the face of apartheid brutality.

'The Amy Biehl attack in Cape Town happened within this context. She was not the kind of target that APLA, if everything was equal, would have chosen because in the broadest principles of armed struggle, this incident did not have any military value. It was, pure and simple, a mistake.

'Amy Biehl found herself in a situation where there was a great deal of frenzy accompanied by a deep resentment against while people in the community, as they were seen as the authors and drivers of apartheid oppression. She bore no mark of being an American, still less a volunteer to help the poor in this country.

'It happened so fast that even the four young people who were convicted for her killing admitted that if they knew who she actually was they would not have attacked her.

'The PAC regrets the killing of Amy Biehl and our hearts go out to her lovely parents and all her loved ones back in the US. When I met with Amy╝s parents last year, they were immensely understanding of the complicated racial situation in South Africa and ever so forgiving. The attitude of the Biehl family is a source of great comfort for us that at least the most important people in this affair are on the same wavelength with us.

'We hope this unfortunate incident and human experience will inspire all of humanity to have a spirit of goodwill towards others, that racial oppression and wars should be things of the past, because in every war, it is the innocent that suffer most.'

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