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South African police foil 'bomb plot' as ANC meets in Mangaung

Police say they have foiled a plot by suspected right-wing extremists to attack a leadership conference of South Africa's ruling African National Congress party.

South africa bomb plot 20121217Enlarge
A supporter of South African President Jacob Zuma holds a t-shirt baring his portrait, among African National Congress (ANC) delegates attending the opening ceremony of the 53rd National Conference of the African National Congress (ANC) on December 16, 2012, in Bloemfontein. (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)

BLOEMFONTEIN, South Africa — South African police say they have foiled a bomb plot by suspected right-wing extremists, as the ruling African National Congress meets to elect its top leaders at a national party convention.

Police arrested four white men Sunday just ahead of the ANC’s five-yearly leadership conference in the city of Bloemfontein, also known as Mangaung. More than 4,000 voting delegates, including President Jacob Zuma, have gathered to choose the party's executive.

While the plot was "country-wide," it included plans to attack the ANC conference, police confirmed a day after denying there was a link.

The four suspects, said to be between the ages of 40 and 50, are to due to appear Tuesday in a Bloemfontein court to face treason and terrorism charges. 

Bloemfontein remains under heavy police guard, with most cars barred from the University of the Free State campus where the conference is taking place this week.

The Federal Freedom Party, a recently created group that promotes the rights of South Africa's white Afrikaner minority, told Reuters that two of the arrested men are members, but distanced themselves from their actions.

More from GlobalPost: South Africa: Jacob Zuma fights off challenger at ANC conference

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/south-africa/121217/south-african-police-foil-bomb-plot-anc-meets-mangaung