In July, State Security Minister Ayanda Dlodlo went on the record to say that South Africa’s intelligence services were having ‘sleepless nights’ regarding the threat posed by ISIS via our neighbours.
Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, in the country’s north, has been captured by fighters linked to the terrorist group, with the port of Mocimboa da Praia a particular concern.
In taking over the port, reports AP, “Islamic State Central African Province showed new levels of organization, strategy, manpower and weaponry in the days-long battle”.
Our security officials may be worried about this external threat, but according to the Hawks, some South Africans are aiding and abetting the terrorist efforts, with “financial and material support”.
Hawks spokesperson Capt Lloyd Ramovha told TimesLIVE that there are also South Africans involved in the on the ground fighting:
“The investigation into South Africans involvement with the insurgency involves Interpol and the Mozambican authorities. The investigation has multiple legs, with detectives looking at cross-border financial flows, the origin of these funds and the involvement of organised crime in raising finances.”
Despite the concerns voiced by Dlodlo and her department, Ramovha says there was “no imminent threat to SA”.
One South African, Mohammed Suliman, is believed to have died fighting for the ISIS-linked group, and he was also friends with Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, the Durban twins accused of terrorist activity.
Suliman’s father says that his son left the country in 2018, and headed to Mozambique with 15 other South Africans who intended to fight alongside the terror cell.
Suliman can be seen standing second from the right in the back row, alongside Renaldo Smith (second from the left), who fled the country in 2018 after initially turning state witness:
In total, a source close to the investigation said they believe as many as 100 South Africans could be fighting with the terrorists, and criminal activity within our borders is being used to funnel money towards supporting those efforts.
Jasmine Opperman, director of the Africa Desk at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, was under no illusions:
“For the first time in Southern Africa we are faced with an Isis threat never seen before.”
2020, hey? Just keeps on delivering.
You can read more on what experts believe will happen next, including the Mozambiquan military’s plans to take back the port, here.
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