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JOHANNESBURG – South African police are investigating whether there was a link between homosexual sex and the murder of white supremacist Eugene Terre’blanche, police said on Sunday.

The lawyer for one of the two black farm workers charged with the killing that heightened racial tensions was quoted as saying that Terre’blanche was killed after trying to have sex with at least one of the defendants.

A police spokesman confirmed that was among possibilities being investigated. Police had earlier said a pay dispute had led to the killing of Terre’blanche, on the political margins since his efforts to preserve apartheid in the early 1990s.

“We are not going to focus on one thing,” said Musa Zondi of the Hawks investigative unit, adding that a sexual link was among the many accusations being made over the case.

“We will investigate all pertinent facts that have a bearing on the matter,” he said.

General Jan Mabula, head of the Hawks in the North West Province, told City Press newspaper the suspects’ clothes were to be examined as part of checks into whether there was a sexual link. Zondi did not comment on that.

Hacked, battered to death
Terre’blanche was hacked and battered to death on April 3 and found with his trousers pulled down after a murder that has showed up the racial strains in the “Rainbow Nation”.

“My instructions from my client are that there was some sodomy going on and it sparked the murder of Mr. Terre’blanche,” Puna Moroko, attorney for 28-year-old Chris Mahlangu, told the Sunday Times newspaper. The other accused is 15.

Terre’blanche’s Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) has rejected any suggestion of a homosexual link to the murder of its leader, who was one of the most vocal proponents of keeping South Africa’s races apart.

Nazi swastika, near-murder
Terre’blanche was a prominent figure during the dying years of white minority rule with his khaki-clad paramilitary followers wearing armbands with the party symbol that resembles the Nazi swastika.

But he had since lived in relative obscurity, particularly since his release in 2004 after serving a prison sentence for beating a black man nearly to death.

Thousands of followers of Terre’blanche in angry mood brandished apartheid-era flags and sang the old South African anthem at his funeral on Friday in his home town of Ventersdorp, 60 miles west of Johannesburg.

Although political analysts do not expect major unrest, the killing showed up the racial strains in South Africa 16 years after apartheid ended.

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