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JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - A prince of the AbaThembu clan of South Africa's late anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela has been abducted by gunmen in the city of Mtata in the Eastern Cape province, police said on Friday.

Prince Mankunku Dalindyebo is the brother of jailed King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo, who began a 12-year sentence in December 2015 for arson, kidnapping and assault.

"He was abducted in Mtata at 1630 (1430 GMT) and that is all the information we have. The police are looking for him and those who took him," police spokesman Mzukisi Fatyela told Reuters. There was no known motive.

The brothers are traditional leaders of Mandela's clan in a poor, rural region of the Eastern Cape. South Africa recognises several royal families, who command considerable respect, especially in the countryside.

Local media reported that the family has been at loggerheads over who should assume the role of acting king as the monarch serves his prison sentence, with some backing Prince Mankunku's claim to the throne.

The provincial government in February officially recognised the king's son as the acting ruler of the nation.

(Reporting by Ed Stoddard; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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