Increasing Terror Links To South Africa

Op-Ed by a SATAC contributor

In 2018 I speculated on the SATAC platform that the current violent Islamic State activity in northern Mozambique around the gas reserves and processing areas is an example of a link between organise crime and terrorism. SATAC believes that around 100 residents or citizens of South African (SA) are involved in this extremism.

I also suggested that SATAC should look at linking the apparent terrorist events in SA (e.g. the mosque attacks and the murder of British botanists in KZN, etc).

I further commented that the ‘Cash In Transit’ robberies in SA and the level of expertise deployed could indicate possibly “training runs” or “hired specialists “ for organized crime by terrorist cells; e.g. using those to hire out expertise, train operatives and generate funds.

At that stage it was believed that my view was a bit of a stretch. It now appears to be more probable.

The problem is that SA is at least three years behind the development and is playing catch up. I believe that with few resources and expertise remaining in our security forces we will, sooner rather than later, see a serious act of terrorism in SA.

The sentiment that there remains “cooperation” through historic relationships between the ruling AVC and other “liberation” movements and that therefore SA remains a “safe haven” for terrorist organizations, are simply no longer true.

I was out with the timing as we are now three years down the line, but with growing economic vows, heading into an election and growing youth disaffection, it’s no longer a question of ‘maybe’ – it’s merely a question of ‘when’ will we see a large scale act of terrorism in SA.

I believe that now is the time for security professionals in SA to start doing more in preparations in protection of facilities and operations against a first serious act of terrorism and then further attacks on SA soil.

More should be done in training the public in terrorism awareness and active shooter event response.

The debate should now increase momentum on many levels with plans to protect operations and people in what will soon become a tragic reality in SA.

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5 foreign nationals linked to kidnapping, extremism syndicate and New Year’s Eve Melville shooting arrested

SOURCE: News24 Police have arrested five foreign nationals behind a spate of kidnappings – inside and outside the country. They are linked to an international kidnapping and extremism syndicate. News24 understands the five could also be linked to a shooting at Poppy’s restaurant in Melville and other shootings at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg, on New Year’s Eve. https://www.news24.com/news24/southafrica/news/police-arrest-5-foreign-nationals-linked-to-a-kidnapping-and-extremism-syndicate-20200723

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Can South Africa’s Farm Attacks Be Classified As Terrorism?

This article was originally published by Security Focus Africa on https://issuu.com/contactpublicationsza/docs/sfa_july_2019/18

There’s a complex debate going on in some security and political circles as to whether or not farm attacks can be classified and prosecuted as Terrorism.

The debate is hampered by the restricted flow of information from the police, the organs of State intelligence and government departments and even the nominally independent Courts – although the latter has improved in recent years, notably after the open media coverage of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.

Whilst there is no universal definition of Terrorism the elements of acts of terror are generally agreed upon. For example, the US Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as, “The unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”.

The US Patriot Act of 2001 has a similar definition but includes, ”…when the intent of the crime is determined to be the endangerment of public safety or substantial property damage rather than for mere personal monetary gain.”.

Terror and terrorism are emotive words and can be appropriately applied as emotional reactions to events such as the theft of copper cable powering residences, business and hospitals, and critical infrastructure and National Key Points such as railways, communications. In such cases the public reaction is often to say, “They (The Law) should classify this as terrorism!” or perhaps ‘economic sabotage’.

But both terrorism and sabotage have an outcome that is more complex than just the ‘personal monetary gain’ that criminals derive from stealing copper. A person randomly shooting into a crowd, such as Stephen Paddock’s killing rampage in Las Vegas in October 2017, killing 58 concertgoers, is creating terror, that is, extreme fear, but as, according to the FBI investigation, he had no political motive, this was not an act of terrorism.

The South African Terrorism Act (edited below where not relevant to this article) has a fairly long definition of ‘Terrorist activity’ as:

(a) any act committed in or outside the Republic, which-

(i) involves the systematic, repeated or arbitrary use of violence (author’s emphasis in bold) by any means or method;

(ii) (Edit)

(iii) endangers the life, or violates the physical integrity or physical freedom of, or causes serious bodily injury to or the death of, any person, or any number of persons;

(iv) causes serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public;

(v) (Edit)

(vi) is designed or calculated to cause serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system, or the delivery of any such service, facility or system, whether public or private, including, but not limited to-

(aa) to (gg) (Edit)

(vii) causes any major economic loss or extensive destabilisation of an economic system or substantial devastation of the national economy of a country; or

(viii) creates a serious public emergency situation or a general insurrection in the
Republic, whether the harm contemplated in paragraphs (a) (i) to (vii) is or may be suffered (to)(Edit)

(i) threaten the unity and territorial integrity of the Republic;
(ii) intimidate, or to induce or cause feelings of insecurity within, the public, or a segment of the public, with regard to its security, including its economic
security, or
to induce, cause or spread feelings of terror, fear or panic in a civilian population; or

(iii) unduely compel, intimidate, force, coerce, induce or cause a person, a
government, the general public
or a segment of the public, or a domestic or
an international organisation or body or intergovernmental organisation or
body, to do or to abstain or refrain from doing any act, or to adopt or abandon
a particular standpoint, or to act in accordance with certain principles, (Edit) and
(c) which is committed, directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, for the purpose of the advancement of an individual or collective political, religious, ideological or philosophical motive, objective, (Edit).

However:

(4) Notwithstanding any provision of this Act or any other law, any act committed during a struggle waged by peoples, including any action during an armed struggle, in the exercise or furtherance of their legitimate right to national liberation, self-determination and independence against colonialism, or occupation or aggression or domination by alien or foreign forces, in accordance with the principles of international law, especially international humanitarian law, including the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in accordance with the said Charter, shall not, for any reason, including for purposes of prosecution or extradition, be considered as a terrorist activity, as
defined in subsection (1).

Under Section 4, even if all of the elements of a Terrorist Act are present the perpetrators of farm attacks who are well informed, organised or defended may claim indemnity from prosecution under certain circumstances, even for rape, torture and murder by claiming they are part of a ‘legitimate’ liberation or anti-colonial movement, leaving the Court to decide if this is true or just a convenient lie. This ‘escape clause’ is unique to South African law and unfortunately also implies that the law here is subjective – subject itself to political interpretation and influence.

Much of the unnecessary violence of farm attacks can be proven to include racism, which can easily be called political because of the racial divisions in this country and the calls to violence of populist political leaders and parties. But without a direct correlation between the attacks and established political policies it is poor analytic method to say that most, if any, of these attacks fit any serious definition of Terrorism.

There is no doubt that even though the farm attacks are a small percentage of SA’s violent crime and that they are widely spread out over our large, low density populated areas, there are common threads and signs of training and organisation. But these threads and signs only loosely intersect with the methods promoted by established terror groups such as ‘The Islamic State’. And it’s not a ‘numbers game’, as shown in the case cited above of the motiveless Las Vegas shooter killing 58 if compared to the UK Houses of Parliament  car and knife IS inspired Terrorist attack in March 2017 that killed 5.

What we do see are stolen military or police weapons and/or equipment (including cellphone jammers) and borrowed military techniques, which may indicate individuals trained by the State. These techniques can also be learned in prisons and over the internet.

Those observers who say that farm attacks are a politically motivated attempt to drive white farmers off the land are ignoring the obvious conclusion that this is simply not working – our farmers are mostly staying and defending their land, businesses and families. If anything, the talk of non-violent ‘Expropriation Without Compensation’ appears to be perceived as a greater threat and reason, along with generally violent crime and collapsing services and infrastructure, to leave the country by South African whites and overseas investors.

Andrey P Grudko has been an independent security consultant since 1980 and is the Founding Director of the South African Terrorism Analysis Centre (satac.co.za).

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SATAC Members’ Predictions For 2019

Each year we ask our SATAC members what they think the new year holds for SA in particular regarding security and terrorism – these are our 2019 predictions

(NS) We will continue to see rise of the paramilitaries in the US with lone wolf attacks increasing with school shootings, and attacks on religious institutions and communities.
I see 2 ISIL related attacks in France, 2 attacks in the UK, 1 in Australia
with South Africa building up for at least 1 (based on the noise in the news recently).

(DD) Domestic events could be interesting around election time but internationally, there hasn’t really been a ‘big one’ for some time so is this the year?

(H) Nigeria is very much going to be an arena to watch. The elections are going to take away resources and focus off Boko Haram, allowing more attacks deeper into the South…..further than just Abuja.
In Uganda, we might see rebels going over the border from the DRC, threatening Uganda’s fragile democracy, increasing the impact from Ebola.
Kenya would further be an area of interest since we have seen continuous attacks in Lamu. Al Shabaab losing foothold in Mogadishu will want to reaffirm their position as a credible threat!

(AB) Locally I think we will see a bombing of a political party’s office or an assassination of one of the leaders. There are enough people with nothing to loose.

(AG) I look forward to the outcomes of the 3 pending ‘ISIS sympathisers’ terror trials and the reportage. But I fear that we won’t be given the level of case details that is released overseas, fuelling further speculation rather than aiding factual analysis.
Depending on the outcomes, other ‘Lone Wolves’ may feel emboldened to have their ’15 minuets of fame’.
There is also the possibility that our State Capture Commission of Enquiry may reveal terror funding or money laundering, as these were new opportunities for those who are now being revealed as criminals in suits, luxury cars and mansions.

(SB) Predictions, made within a global VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity) context:
1) USA no longer world policeman – Russia & China will handle that as US troops return home.
2) A flow of wealth and power from west to east.
3) corporate interests from Canada, US, UK, Saudi, China, Russia will compete for identified natural resources throughout Africa using proxy armies and intel. with pushback by local communities.
4) Global financial reset, the end of Petro$ and gold backed $s, with a worldwide Rothschild central bank implosion.
5) Mass arrests worldwide re. corruption, financial terrorism, human trafficking at an industrial scale including what appears to be a purge & martial law in the USA, France and UK all programmed by social media.
6) New exotic weapons such as ‘nation killer’ hypersonic missiles that travel @ mach 20 and space-based directed energy weapons render traditional war machines obsolete.
7) Venezuela at war with Brazil, Columbia and Argentina.
8) Increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks on individuals and organisations involving data dumps and Doxxing causing reputation damage.

In Southern Africa
1) Mosques, synagogues and other religious or public spaces such as shopping malls attacked as these provide powerful and cheap media coverage.
2) kidnap and blackmail of key corporate execs and damage to brand assets.
3) Some ‘signature event’ leading up to the May elections.
4) Emergence of the social-media enabled African info-warlord.
5) Organised cyber & physical attacks on infrastructure and reputation
6) ISIS and Al-Shabaab inspired franchises & methods growing in Mozambique and spreading to adjoining countries.
7) The growth of paramilitary armies for-hire.

 

(JM) Russia: I would keep a close eye on Russia, their involvement within other nations, and how they have mastered the art of being involved without appearing to be involved.

France: The local radical attacks have increased throughout the last 2 years, I suspect that in 2019 all foreigners living and visiting France will be under close watch, but I feel that they might slip through the watchful eye of Intelligence.

Mozambique: The radical attacks in the northern province will either spread down the east side, or the government will take a drastic stance along with help from other countries to stand up against local attacks.

USA: I personally feel that Trump has caused enough conflict within the local government that his impeachment will happen in 2019, which will stop or delay any planned attacks in the US.

(Editor’s personal note: Whilst I agree that Trump might be impeached we do not know if this will be at the behest of the Democrats in Congress, or the Meuller or other investigations, which would not affect Radicalised persons, or the WH Hawks who want to continue the fight against ISIS/L in Syria etc., which may well spur ‘IS’ supporters into acts of terror)

(SB2) 1. There will be a major conflict event in South Africa. Terror, crime, civil, political – I can’t say. But wait for it.
2. I predict that Trump and Putin will find common ground. Some “contract.”
3. A major shift in stability, somewhere in Europe.
4. Another major mass shooting in the USA.
5. A new wave of conflict coming out of the USA, because of the US withdrawal.
6. A major scientific or Astronomical announcement. New planet, alien life, a new understanding.
7. A financial shift – boom, crisis or upheaval – probably around the oil issue.
8. An assassination somewhere. Not sure where, but at high level.

(JH) USA and Russia will buddy up against China….

(GB) Sees top executives being targeted for kidnapping operations as it becomes harder to do this in First World countries.

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SATAC Special Report: The Verulam Eleven

The Verulam Family Court heard on 22 Oct 2018 that eleven men accused of the May fatal attack at a KwaZulu-Natal Shia mosque and planting several incendiary devices at Durban shopping centres have links to the so called Islamic State (ISIS). The accused are from South Africa, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania.

The court heard that during their arrests, the men were found in possession of an ISIS newsletter and a manual on how to make bombs and carry out assassinations, as revealed in an affidavit that Warrant Officer Benedict Chonco of the Hawks presented in opposition to the men’s release on bail. W.O. Chonco revealed that some of the 11 men were positively identified for the Imam Hussein Shia Mosque attack in Verulam and for the planting of bombs at major Durban shopping centres.

Chonco also stated that CCTV footage at the Woolworths stores placed some of them at the scenes where incendiary devices were planted and that a white Hyundai Getz and VW Polo Vivo, allegedly used in the mosque attack and a Woolworths store in Gateway in Umhlanga, were registered to accused number one, businessman Farhad Hoomer of Durban.

Hoomer was identified as the leader of the group and his house in Reservoir Hills was used for training the group for more than a year and a device similar to the bomb used in the mosque attack and those found at Woolworths stores was found at Hoomer’s home. He is also the owner of the house where a victim was found kidnapped.

Hoomer’s cellphone location was linked to the mosque attack in Verulam and the three victims of extortion in the matter had had previous dealings with Hoomer – each had received a threatening SMS demanding about R1 500 000.

Hoomer and his co-accused, Mohamad Akbar‚ Ndikumana Shabani, Seiph Mohamed‚ Amani Mayani‚ Ahmed Haffejee‚ Thabit Mwenda‚ Abubakar Ali‚ Abbas Jooma‚ Mahammed Sobruin‚ and Iddy Omani applied for bail.

They face 14 charges including murder, attempted murder, arson, extortion and the violation of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act. Magistrate Irfaan Khalil postponed the case to the 24th for the defence’s replying affidavit.

It would appear that this was a criminal conspiracy that took advantage of the fear of ISIS terror to motivate victims’ compliance and to obfuscate the motive for the attacks.

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Durban explosive devices: Why Woolworths?

A SATAC ANALYSIS  13 July 2018
Prelude: The Verulam attacks

1. On Thursday 10 May 2018, three knife-wielding men stormed the Imam Hussain (Shia) Mosque after midday prayers and attacked Moulana Ali Nchiyane before torching the mosque’s library by throwing in a petrol bomb. Abbas Essop, a mechanic at a workshop across the road, ran into the Mosque. When Abbas intervened, the attackers. He died in hospital and became a collateral casualty in the attack‚ believed to be motivated by “extremist elements” intent on killing the resident Moulana and razing the building to the ground.

2. On the night of Sunday 13 May, a suspected bomb or Improvised Explosive Device was discovered beneath the Moulana‘s chair. Initial reports were sketchy with a poor photo made public and described the device as a PVC pipe bomb with a cellphone attached. Later the authorities described it as an Incendiary Device although the chemical composition has not been released at the time of writing. As of yet no motive for the attacks has been established and no group has claimed responsibility

The Woolworths – and Durban July – incidents

3. On Thursday 5 July an almost identical incendiary device to the Verulam one ignited amongst clothing in a Woolworths retail store 34 Km by road south of Verulam at the Durban Westville Pavilion shopping centre at approximately 01:30.

4. A few hours later yet another almost identical device ignited 22 Km by road north at the Durban Umhlanga branch of Woolworths. In both cases the damage was minimal thanks to the sprinkler system.

5. On Saturday 7 July, a very similar device was found in the cushions display at, once again, the Durban Westville Pavilion Woolworths.

6. Later that day, ljust after 10pm, officers were dispatched to Gladys Mazibuko (formerly Marriott) Road in central Durban where a “device” was found under a vehicle”.

7. Just over an hour later they were called out to the corner of Avondale and Milner Roads, central Durban, where another device was found under a car. Neither device detonated/ignited but visually were very similar to the Verulam device and the two Woolworths devices, although curiously one was painted purple.

The location of these incidents may be relevant as they were very close to the perimeter of the Grayville Race Course where that weekend the most prestigious horse race on the SA calendar, the Durban July, was in mid swing.

8. On the morning of Monday 9 July a suspicious device was reported at the Pavilion Centre in Westville. With the basement area cordoned off the police quickly determined that this was not a bomb or a hoax but a lost piece of electronics – a false alarm due to increased awareness and vigilance.

9. On the same afternoon the South African Police Services’ Explosives Unit was called to the Spar Supermarket in Austerville‚ Wentworth‚ Durban, after a ten year old boy arrived at the shop and gave a manager a brown envelope containing one live 9mm round and a handwritten letter. The letter stated that the recipient must put money inside the bag and leave it outside the supermarket otherwise a bomb will explode – and not to call the police.
The boy who delivered the letter alleged that it was given to him by unknown male to deliver. The manager took the envelope to the police station, accompanied by the boy. The police attended, cordoned off the scene and when the bomb disposal unit arrived a black plastic packet was found on the entrance near the tills containing a parcel. This was detonated under control of the bomb unit and declared a hoax.

10. On the morning of Thursday 12 July a bomb scare was phoned in to the police targeting Woolworths at Cornubia Mall in the Mount Edgecomb area of Durban. The SAPS bomb squad swept and no devices were found. The mall was reopened three hours later.

11. Less than an hour later hundreds of tenants of a 23-storey building in central Durban were evacuated following a bomb threat phoned in to a college on the seventh floor. Students due to write exams have been known to phone in bomb threats to postpone the exams if they are not prepared. The SAPS declared the call a hoax.

12. That afternoon a bomb scare was phoned in to Phoenix (Durban area again) police station – this time claiming that 3 devices had been planted. After being closed for about 2 hours the bomb squad declared the threat a hoax and the Hawks promised a swift prosecution.

Ten arson bombs, attempts or threats in seven days in a country that normally does not experience that in a year – never mind in one city. The last time we saw something like this was the PAGAD bombings and shootings of 1999/2000. And no motive or claim for responsibility. What is going on?

SATAC Analysis

The Verumam Mosque attacks are believed to be isolated religious rivalry incidents and even though the Muslim community are involved and the incidents well publicised ISIS/L remained uncharacteristically silent. Serious observers suspect no link to organised terrorism.

However, the publicity, including a photograph of the device – it did not detonate – has probably triggered a spate of copycat incidents. All of the components can be obtained in a hardware store and a cellphone shop new, without arousing suspicion for about SAR 300 (US$20) and assembled in 30 minutes.

So someone in the Durban area used the now well-known design to target Woolworths. But why?

Without a threat or demand we can rule out extortion – unless this is a test phase – or giving management a taste of what could happen.

Could it be a deranged, unhappy customer?
Or a seriously disgruntled employee or ex-employee?
Could it be a criminal distraction – diverting store security whilst stealing? If so one would expect the loss to have been detected by now as it would have to be significant to do this. Also the timing, – 01:30 in the morning – seems to eliminate this motive.
Or a bigger criminal plot – testing police response times and procedures.
Or a grand criminal plot, like the CIT heist which took place on Tugela Plaza, near Durban, on the 11th, by diverting the police to a ‘bomb’ on the other side of the city (actually there were no bomb threats that day).

At the time of writing we don’t know much:
We don’t know if the cell phones were being used as remote controls or timers.
We don’t know if the devices that had not ignited had failed or had not been triggered.
We don’t know if the rigging and formulations link these devices together or with others.
We don’t know if there were fingerprints found, CCTV recordings of use or other evidence from which we could probe the conspiracy theories.

Hopefully the authorities will help us to reduce unhelpful speculation by giving us some feedback.

Woolworths are not an elitist store but are the favourite up-market supermarket of the better-off and SA’s new, aspiring middle class. Could this be a crime of envy? This theory could be supported by the attempts to set fire to the two cars near the up-market Durban July. Remember, one of the devices was painted purple – the colour that represents royalty and privilege.

Could it be anti –Semitic? The company was founded by and until about 2010 was controlled by Jewish families – perhaps linked to recent Israili-Palestinian conflicts?

In early August 2014 a group called BDS South Africa launched the peaceful and largely ineffective #BoycotWoolworths campaign in protest to the store stocking Israeli products. And in September 2015 thousands protested in Cape Town, waving Palestinian flags near the entrance of Grand West Casino in the build-up to Grammy Award-winning artist Pharrell Williams’s concert. The protest was given the green light after BDS scored a victory when a High Court application, aimed at preventing them from getting 40 000 protesters to the event, was dismissed. Williams came under fire for collaborating with Woolworths.

But Woolworths are low profile on such issues and certainly a not political organisation. BDS give no indication of moving towards extremism and are the kind of organisation that need and want publicity, so if they were behind the attacks they would at least ‘support’ the disruption of the stores.

Would business rivals benefit from that disruption? Marginally, and not enough to justify the risk and cost of being caught. Not unless the rival was also a sociopath – not concerned with the long term consequences of his or her actions.

Or simply a person who likes to create chaos and likes to see the result of his or her ‘work’ on the TV and in social media?

Or pranksters.

The extortion attempt on afternoon of the 9th at the Spar supermarket was most probably a petty crook inspired by the previous fear, someone hoping for a quick ‘score’.

And the hoax calls on the 12th? Hopefully the police will be able to trace the calls but with no physical evidence we have nothing to suggest that they are linked to the three actual devices left at Woolworths – although if the desired effect is disruption, these calls were almost as effective as the pipe bombs.

And finally, the hoax call to the Phoenix police station? Again, using the heightened awareness and the uncertainty created by the four (including Verulam) real devices to force the police to evacuate their premises. A great win for someone who needs to prove his ‘power’ to himself – or just a prankster?

Whatever the real reasons are for these events we can be fairly sure that they are not linked to organised terrorism.

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SABC interview: Andrey Grudko of SATAC on explosive devices in Durban

There was yet another bomb scare in Durban Thursday. Hundreds of people had to be evacuated from a 23 storey building. This was only hours after police had to conduct a sweep at a local mall after another threat which later turned out to be a hoax. Police have discovered a series of explosive devices in the city and no arrests have yet to be made. To discuss this further, we’re joined by Andy Grudko, who is the Director of the South African Terrorism Analysis Centre.

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SATAC ANALYSIS – THE IMAM HUSSAIN MOSQUE ATTACKS – ISIS Terrorism Or Local Fanatics?

16th May 2018

2%: The percentage of Muslims in South Africa’s 56 million people

12%: The percentage of Shia Muslims in the world

3%: The percentage of Shia Muslims amongst SA Muslims

The Events

South Africa has an almost exclusively peaceful Muslim community. So a fatal knife attack at a mosque on Thursday 10 May, on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan, came as both a shock and a surprise. Three knife-wielding men stormed the Imam Hussain (Shia denomination) Mosque after midday prayers. Once in the property‚ the men attacked Ali and Moulana Ali Nchiyane with knives before torching the mosque’s library by throwing in a petrol bomb.

(Moulana is often the word of choice for addressing or referring to Muslim religious scholars that are respected, while Mullah is used often derogatorily for people that some consider being more agitator than scholar).

The caretaker and muzzein (the man tasked with leading the call to prayer)‚ Muhammad Ali‚ had noticed the men at the gate and thinking they were coming to pray‚ let them inside.

Abbas Essop, a mechanic at a workshop across the road, ran heroically into the Imam Hussain Mosque in the small town of Ottowa near Verulam‚ north of Durban‚ (Kwa Zulu Natal Province) after three knife-wielding men had stormed the building after midday prayers. When Abbas intervened, the attackers duct-taped his mouth and slit his throat. He died in hospital and became a collateral casualty in the attack‚ believed to be motivated by “extremist elements” intent on killing the resident Moulana and razing the building to the ground.

The attackers were first described as ‘Egyptians’ but this has since been revised to ‘South Africans’. The suspects, who were wearing half balaclavas, fled in a white Hyundai Getz with no registration plates.

No demands or ultimatums were made, left or sent. The SAPS say that they searched the building after the attack but are not specific on how.

Although still under investigation by the South African Police Service Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations, a.k.a. The Hawks, the attack was believed to be the culmination of a steadily rising hate campaign directed at Shias. Islam is divided into two main opposing groups, Shia and Sunni, and most South African Muslims are Sunni.

On the night of Sunday 13 May, a suspected bomb or Improvised Explosive Device was discovered beneath the Moulana‘s chair. This forced the evacuation of the Mosque in Verulam. Initial reports were sketchy with a poor photo made public and described the device as a pipe bomb with a cellphone attached. Latterly the authorities described it as an Incendiary Device although the chemical composition has not been released at the time of writing. The pipe is now described as made of PVC.

We understand that the Mosque did not have security officers present but we do not know if there was any other security such as CCTV. A review of available video and photographs do show an electrified fence topping the perimeter wall. This is a common feature on South African buildings.

An unconfirmed source stated that the attackers had visited the mosque three times prior to the attack when it was quiet, prayed, and taken literature and books. The same person stated that the mosque had been mentioned in an open letter published on the Jamiatul Ulama and other websites calling for action against Shia worshippers but SATAC has not seen a copy of this. Jamiatul Ulama is a council of South African Muslim theologians.

SATAC Analysis

Shia is a branch of Islam which holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor. Sunni Islam adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr (who was appointed Caliph through a Shura, i.e. community consensus) to be the correct first Caliph.

Shias are considered more moderate and ‘westernised’, not supportive of extremist views. The group are a tiny minority with just a few hundred members in each Province but they are growing, with a new – only the third in SA – mosque having just opened in Cape Town.

A total, eternal ‘Manichean’ worldview is a central tenet of violent Islamic extremism. It divides the world strictly into ‘Us’ versus ‘Them’: those who are blessed or saved (i.e. the “right kind” of Muslim) on the one hand and those who are to be damned for eternity (i.e. the “wrong kind” of Muslim and everyone else) on the other. For violent Islamic extremists, the “wrong kind” of Muslim includes moderate Sunni Muslims, all Shia Muslims, and many others who are “mete for the sword” and can be killed, and anyone who associates or collaborates” with them” (UK Judge Charles Haddon-Cave).

Manichean: Of or relating to a dualistic view of the world, dividing things into either good or evil, light or dark, black or white, involving no shades of grey

1. The assault on the Moulana and the two attempts to set the Mosque ablaze seen in the context of the above strongly indicate that extremist members of the rival Sunni Muslim groups were responsible because they considered that Shias; a) are not true Muslims and so are infidels, and b) are taking their more moderate members

2. The two arson attempts may be symbolic of numerous references in the Quran to the punishment of infidels by fire, such as “It is not for such as join gods with Allah, to visit or maintain the mosques of Allah while they witness against their own souls to infidelity. The works of such bear no fruit: In Fire shall they dwell” (Surah At-Tawba, 17).

3. The device used was based on commonly available instructions and no attempt was made to disguise it. It was poorly concealed and the presence of a remote control (cellphone) may indicate that the person who was going to trigger it may have been present in the congregation and awaiting a particular moment, such as when the Moulana took his seat.

4. As the first arson attempt failed this appeared to be a hastily prepared device, in less than three days later. An explosive device would require considerably more skill, preparation and risk, indicating a lack of planning and expertise.

5. As ISIS have not claimed responsibility, as they did in the Paris lethal knife attack 4 days before and many others, it is highly unlikely that these attacks are connected to that terror group although the perpetrators could well have been inspired by recent terror events.

6. The 3 knife attackers did not shout the Arabic phrase “Allahu Akbar,” (God is greater) during the attack as is abused by organised terrorism groups. They are the opening words of the Adhan (Islamic call to prayer) and is also often used in approval in the same way Christians say “Amen”. The phrase is not found in the Koran.

7. We do not believe that the Shia community will call for retribution and will rather assist the authorities but there is always the possibility that an individual or group might feel they have a duty to react to these attacks with kind.

8. As usual SATAC calls for all communities to cooperate with the authorities to bring the criminals responsible to book.

(Free Use notice: This article may be quoted in full or part as long as the source is quoted as https://satac.co.za/public-library-free/)

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Israel says Iran recruited Palestinian militants via South Africa

Via Reuters January 3rd, 2018

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Wednesday it had cracked a Palestinian militant cell suspected of having been recruited and handled by Iranian intelligence officers who worked out of South Africa, but the suspects’ lawyer denied the charges.

Israel has long been locked in a shadow war with arch-foe Iran, which supports Islamist guerrillas in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and whose nuclear program is widely believed to have been targeted repeatedly by Israeli saboteurs.

Israel’s Shin Bet security agency said three Palestinians from the occupied West Bank had been indicted on espionage and terrorism charges after they confessed to accepting Iranian-assigned missions, including preparation of a suicide bombing and providing their handlers with Israeli cellphone SIM cards.

In its statement, the Shin Bet said the suspects’ point of contact was a Palestinian who lived in South Africa and had been recruited by Iranian intelligence. It gave no indication whether the South African government knew of the alleged Iranian activity, or of the Palestinian expatriate’s whereabouts.

South Africa, where pro-Palestinian sentiment is strong, has strained relations with Israel, but the Shin Bet statement also suggested the country effectively served as an Iranian spy hub.

“It became clear, during the the Shin Bet investigation, that Iranian intelligence used South Africa as a significant arena for locating, recruiting and running anti-Israel agents in the West Bank,” the Shin Bet said, adding that several Iranian officers had traveled there “from Tehran” for the operation.

South Africa’s Foreign Ministry and Home Affairs Ministry, and the Iranian embassy in Pretoria, did not immediately respond to the Israeli allegations.

DENIAL OF CHARGES

The three Palestinians were arrested in November and a trial date has yet to be set, their lawyer, Munther Abu Ahmed, said.

“The three young men denied the charges against them,” Abu Ahmed told Reuters. Two of them had been in touch with a relative in South Africa “about business and commercial issues,” he said, adding that their most recent meeting was in July 2016.

“We are in 2018 and none of the three men has done anything, and that refutes the charges against them,” Abu Ahmed said.

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Wednesday the case showed that “Iran operates in a subversive and terrorist manner … not just in aiding terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, but also in attempts to organize terror activities within the State of Israel against its civilians”.

A Shin Bet veteran interviewed by Israel Radio about the case suggested the purported South African link may be unprecedented.

“Apparently the Iranians found fertile ground in South Africa,” said ex-officer Adi Carmi, adding: “I do not recall South Africa ever having been used by the Iranians as a terrorist recruiting ground for the aim of carrying out attacks.”

Additional reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza and Ed Stoddard and Mfuneko Toyana in Johannesburg; Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Gareth Jones

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A drug called “Flakka” has been found in Durban – Implications

A drug called “Flakka” or alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone has been found on a drug dealer in Durban. Reported. As reported in accident.co.za

Yesterday an integrated operational response team.consisting of NIU, Metro K9, MORT.SPU arrested a Nigerian Male with the New Drug Flakka. He was arrested with 10 bags of flakka, 10 bag xtc Tablets and 1 bag of Cocaine.” Sam Pillay of the Anti-Drug Forum said is quoted as saying  “This drug has caused so much damage in other parts of the world and now it is here. These users had almost demonic-like behaviour and it took about six men to restrain just one person. This drug has been called the ‘gateway to hell’ because of the actions of the user. It is like they have superhuman strength,”

Flakka can cause hyperstimulation, paranoia, and hallucinations. α-PVP has been reported to be the cause, or a significant contributory cause of death in suicides and overdoses caused by combinations of drugs. It is also associated with zombie-type behaviours.

This is not the first time Flakka has been reported in South Africa – reports date back to 2015 and point to an elevated usage of the drug by poor people because of it’s cheapness and availability.

Flakka is a dangerous drug that threatens the individual, the family, communities as well as the health care and policing infrastructure. The drug  provides the ability to disrupt economically and socially. It generates large amounts of cash that could be used to corrupt at all levels and buy weapons. As such, it is a terroristic tool.

 

References: Wikipedia

IOL – https://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/fears-grow-as-zombie-drug-hits-durban-11891098

Splinternews – https://splinternews.com/a-complete-guide-to-flakka-the-horrible-street-drug-te-1793847009

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