SA plays down ter­ror threat

CityPress - - News -

The US yesterday warned its cit­i­zens of pos­si­ble at­tacks by Is­lamist mil­i­tants on US fa­cil­i­ties or shop­ping malls in South Africa dur­ing the up­com­ing month of Ra­madan, but the South African gov­ern­ment said the coun­try was safe.

It was the sec­ond such warn­ing in less than a year from the em­bassy, which is­sued a sim­i­lar alert in Septem­ber. South Africa has a sig­nif­i­cant Amer­i­can ex­pa­tri­ate and tourist pop­u­la­tion, but has sel­dom been associated with Is­lamist mil­i­tancy.

The US em­bassy said up-mar­ket shop­ping ar­eas, and malls in Jo­han­nes­burg and Cape Town, were the main tar­get ar­eas in the suspected planned at­tacks.

“This in­for­ma­tion comes against the back­drop of the Is­lamic State’s pub­lic call for its ad­her­ents to carry out ter­ror­ist at­tacks glob­ally dur­ing the up­com­ing month of Ra­madan,” it said in a state­ment posted on its web­site.

Last month, a new mes­sage pur­port­ing to come from the spokesper­son of Is­lamic State called on fol­low­ers to launch at­tacks on the West dur­ing the Is­lamic holy month of Ra­madan, which be­gins this week.

The de­part­ment of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion said the coun­try’s se­cu­rity agen­cies were ca­pa­ble of en­sur­ing the safety of its res­i­dents. It noted that no in­ci­dents or at­tacks had taken place af­ter the warn­ing from the US em­bassy last year.

“The State Se­cu­rity Agency and other se­cu­rity agen­cies in this coun­try are very much ca­pa­ble of keep­ing South Africans and every­body in this coun­try, in­clud­ing Amer­i­cans, safe,” in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and co­op­er­a­tion spokesper­son Clayson Monyela said. “The last time they did this, to­wards the end of last year, noth­ing came out of that ad­vi­sory,” he said. South African po­lice were not avail­able for com­ment. Fol­low­ing a sim­i­lar warn­ing in 2009, the US closed its em­bassy and con­sulates in Jo­han­nes­burg, Dur­ban and Cape Town for sev­eral days. Yesterday, the em­bassy said it would re­main open. “This will not af­fect op­er­a­tions at the US em­bassy in Pre­to­ria or at our con­sulates in Jo­han­nes­burg, Cape Town or Dur­ban,” US em­bassy spokesper­son Cyn­thia Har­vey said. “We are co­op­er­at­ing with lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, as we do in any investigation into ter­ror­ist threats around the world,” she said.

– Reuters

UNTROUBLED In­ter­na­tional re­la­tions spokesper­son Clayson Monyela

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.