Court told of twins’ plans to launch at­tacks in SA

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - SAMEER NAIK and RABBIE SERUMULA

HE called him­self Simba.

He com­mu­ni­cated reg­u­larly with peo­ple linked to ex­trem­ist group the Is­lamic State. He dis­cussed his plans to carry out an at­tack. And he said he would blow him­self up for the cause. Simba is Tony-Lee Thulsie. Th­ese are among the de­tails that emerged in an af­fi­davit by Hawks of­fi­cer Wy­nand Olivier at the South Gaut­eng High Court in Jo­han­nes­burg yes­ter­day, in­clud­ing that Simba was the code name used by one of the Thulsie twins al­legedly linked to plans to carry out ter­ror at­tacks at a US Mis­sion in South Africa and at Jewish in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try.

Other de­tails were re­vealed in court ear­lier this week as the twins chal­lenged the law­ful­ness of their ar­rests.

The 23- year- old brothers were ar­rested more than two weeks ago at their homes in New­clare, Jo­han­nes­burg.

In the af­fi­davit, Olivier said he had ev­i­dence which in­di­cated the twins had at­tempted to leave South Africa twice last year. “Two at­tempts to leave the coun­try in the space of three months il­lus­trate that the ac­cused were not only com­mit­ted to join IS, but were aided and abet­ted by per­sons lo­cated out­side South Africa who are con­nected with IS,” the af­fi­davit said.

A bank ac­count was opened by Bran­don-Lee Thulsie into which an IS mem­ber out­side South Africa al­legedly de­posited money to fund the twins’ trip to Syria.

Olivier said in the af­fi­davit the twins were also in pos­ses­sion of IS pro­pa­ganda, in­clud­ing im­ages of ex­e­cu­tions, as well as dig­i­tal man­u­als de­tail­ing how to make bombs and a pic­ture show­ing one of the twins wear­ing a sui­cide vest.

Ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit, dig­i­tal de­vices found in the pos­ses­sion of Tony-Lee showed im­ages of “IS mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions in the Mid­dle East and re­cruits re­ceiv­ing train­ing”.

The af­fi­davit also re­vealed how Tony-Lee’s wife was fired from her job be­cause of her hus­band’s al­leged ex­trem­ist re­li­gious views, which were de­scribed as be­ing linked to ji­had an­ar­chist move­ments.

The court heard “Simba” had com­mu­ni­cated with peo­ple linked to the IS about an eas­ier for­mula to man­u­fac­ture ex­plo­sives. He men­tioned a cell­phone det­o­na­tor to set off an ex­plo­sive de­vice and also made in­quiries about how to make a car bomb.

Mean­while, Cage Africa, an ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion with an Is­lamic fo­cus, said in a state­ment yes­ter­day a wit­ness in the case, Arashad Smith, had re­tracted his state­ment af­ter claim­ing he was co­erced by po­lice into mak­ing it.

Smith told Cage po­lice threat­ened to ar­rest him and mem­bers of his fam­ily, in­clud­ing his wife, brother-in-law and mother-in-law.

The twins are due back in court on Mon­day.

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