‘You go to Syria only to fight or help’
The quiet suburb rocked by terror scandal
Africa’s crime and intelligence services to tread carefully with the cases against the accused.
“You arrest a couple of young Muslims on terror charges and it’s bull****, and there’s nothing there. All that will do is radicalise young Muslims and offend the entire community.”
Jonathan Wood, director of global issues at Control Risks, a global risk and strategic consulting firm, said there was no coherent profile of a potential recruit or radical beyond the likelihood it would be a male aged 18 to 25.
“Recent events, such as the terrorist attack in Bangladesh, illustrate how wealthy, well- educated and well- integrated individuals are by no means immune to recruitment by extremist groups.
Having said that, recruitment efforts do often look to exploit minority grievances within communities which they feel are more amenable to radicalisation,” he said.
Extremist groups, Wood said, used three main channels of recruitment – “personal contact with radicalised individuals, typically within the family or community; efforts by foreign fighter brigades to reach out to their networks and produce local-language propaganda within their countries of origin and diaspora communities; and, the most visible to outsiders, wide- reaching online propaganda campaigns”.
“All are aimed at guiding individuals towards extremist ideology and subsequently violent action, whether by means of travelling to a conflict zone or by conducting an attack at home,” he said.
Barnaby Fletcher, another analyst at Control Risks, said while South Africa could be vulnerable to a terror attack, there was not significant intent from groups like the IS to launch large-scale attacks here.
But South Africa was vulnerable. “The capabilities of South Africa’s security agencies are limited, extremist groups are present and it is extremely difficult for any country to fully mitigate the threat of lone wolf attacks.”
Martin Ewi, a senior researcher with the Institute of Security Studies, said there hadn’t been enough empirical research done on homegrown terrorism for experts to pinpoint areas vulnerable to recruiters.