Long has South Africa been warned of possible in-house terrorism activity, yet, being fortunate enough to not experience a proper attack, the thought of ISIS in our country is quickly forgotten by most.
However, 38-year-old Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio and Fatima Patel, 27, are prime examples how active ISIS-affiliated individuals are present in the country, reports Times LIVE.
After a Cape Town couple went missing, police and intelligence agencies arrested Vecchio and Patel in a covert swoop in Vryheid in the northern KZN:
The missing couple, whose names have been withheld by authorities, are understood to have been kidnapped while on holiday in KwaZulu-Natal.
According to police and intelligence agencies, the pair are linked to “a cell with ties to the global terror group ISIS”.
But how do they know the couple are involved? Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi explained that “while operatives had surveilled Patel and her partner, they gathered information allegedly linking them to the couple from Cape Town”:
“Both had been on our radar for a long time. We had had them under surveillance and while this operation was under way, we gathered information on two people from Cape Town who had gone on a trip to the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.
“The Cape Town couple had left the Western Cape on the 5th of February and they were expected to return on the 15th. They were going on a trip to collect seeds and indigenous plants.”
When police approached the couple’s relations to share the news, the family had no idea that they were missing:
“We informed them about the disappearance of their loved ones, and they told us the couple last communicated with them on February 12. We decided to stage an operation with the terrorism task force and we arrested two people in Vryheid,” he said.
“They are facing charges of kidnapping alternatively robbery and possible murder, arson in respect of several hectors of sugarcane fields they (allegedly) torched and destroyed in 2017, as well as possible contravention of Protection Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorists and Other Related Activities (POCDATARA).”
Patel and Del Vecchio appeared in the Vryheid Magistrate’s court yesterday and:
Sources with knowledge of the investigation told TimesLIVE that Del Vecchio and Patel had used the affluent coastal hamlet of Ballito as a base, and that they were found in possession of Islamic state recruiting material.
But it’s not the first time Patel has been arrested.
Along with her brother Ebrahim, she was taken in by the Hawks during anti-terrorism raids in July 2016, simultaneously with twin brothers Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie.
Now that’s scary.
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