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White supremacist leader killed in South Africa

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Eugene Terreblanche killed
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Far-right leader Terreblanche was bludgeoned and stabbed to death
  • Two of Terreblanche's farm workers have turned themselves into police
  • Terreblanche best known for trying to block South Africa's effort to end apartheid
  • His death comes amid a time of heightened racial polarization in the country
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(CNN) -- Eugene Terreblanche, one of South Africa's most notorious white supremacists, was killed Saturday in an apparent dispute over wages with workers on his farm.

Terreblanche was the leader of the neo-Nazi Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement, or AWB) which attempted to resist South Africa's transformation from Apartheid to democracy in the 1990s.

Police said the 69-year-old was bludgeoned and stabbed to death with clubs and a machete in an attack at his farm near the town of Ventersdorp in South Africa's North West Province .

Two of his farm workers ages 21 and 16 turned themselves in to authorities in connection with the killing and will appear in court on Tuesday, they said.

The AWB said Terreblanche had been attacked in his bed while he took an afternoon nap and urged its members and supporters to be calm as they mourn their leader.

South African President Jacob Zuma also appealed for calm after news of the killing broke, according to the country's national news agency, SAPA.

Terreblanche's death comes amid a time of racial polarization in the country.

A South African court last month banned the playing of a political song called "Kill the Boer," most recently sung by radical youth leader Julius Malema. The apartheid-era song's lyrics translate to "kill the farmer."

South African civil rights group AfriForum condemned the killing and also called for calm in a statement on its Web site.

"These events are a call to all South Africans to come to their senses and to be aware of the extremely polarized and violent circumstances presently prevalent in the country," the statement said.

The group also said that "all communities -- white, as well as black -- should refrain from reckless statements and from romanticizing violence."

Terreblanche's AWB used terrorist tactics in a bid to stall the country's first all-race vote in 1994, killing more than 20 people in a wave of bombings on the eve of the elections.

Terreblanche was convicted of the 1996 attempted murder of Paul Motshabi, a black man who worked as a security guard on Terreblanche's farm. He served about two-thirds of a five-year sentence.

He was also convicted of setting his dog on a black man in an earlier incident.

CNN's Robyn Curnow contributed to this report.

 
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