The Nelson Mandela Foundation quashed reports that the former president received training from Israeli agents in 1962.
"Media have picked up on a story alleging that in 1962 Nelson Mandela interacted with an Israeli operative in Ethiopia," the foundation said in a statement. "The Nelson Mandela Foundation can confirm that it has not located any evidence in Nelson Mandela's private archive…that he interacted with an Israeli operative during his tour of African countries in that year."
British national daily newspaper the Guardian website reported on Friday that Mandela apparently underwent weapons training by Mossad agents in Ethiopia in 1962 without the Israeli secret service knowing his true identity. They attributed their report to "an intriguing secret letter lodged in the Israeli state archives".
The site reported that the missive, revealed by the Israeli paper Haaretz – two weeks after Madiba's death – that he was instructed in the use of weapons and sabotage techniques and was encouraged to develop Zionist sympathies. The foundation has however denied that such a thing occurred.
"In 1962 Mandela received military training from Algerian freedom fighters in Morocco and from the Ethiopian Riot Battalion at Kolfe outside Addis Ababa, before returning to South Africa in July 1962.
"In 2009 the Nelson Mandela Foundation's senior researcher travelled to Ethiopia and interviewed the surviving men who assisted in Mandela's training and no evidence emerged of an Israeli connection," read the statement. – Sapa