Police and army officers shot to death 10 suspects who were among a group of 600 people believed to have entered South Africa from Lesotho to steal cattle.
It was the worst clash in recent years in a longstanding “cattle war” between South African farmers and poor residents of Lesotho, a mountain kingdom surrounded by South Africa.
According to police and news reports, some 600 Basotho, as people from Lesotho are known, crossed the border into South Africa in a rural area Saturday and converged on villages to steal cattle and household belongings.
Alerted by villagers, three policemen and four army officers went to the area and came under fire, a police spokesman said. The patrol shot back, killing 10 men and retrieving 800 head of cattle, the spokesman said.