‘Bazooka’ ter­ror­ist sus­pect net closes in

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO NEWS - Or­rin Singh

THE man­hunt for a third ter­ror-linked sus­pect is in­ten­si­fy­ing.

Ah­mad Jack­son Mussa, known by his omi­nous alias of ‘Bazooka,’ may well be the out­stand­ing piece in the jig­saw puz­zle of miss­ing botanists Rod­ney (74) and Rachel (63) Saun­ders.

The Hawks’ and anti-ter­ror agen­cies’ search for Bazooka en­ters its fifth week af­ter his pass­port was found dur­ing a po­lice raid on the home of Say­fudeen As­lam Del Vec­chio (38) and Bibi Fa­tima Pa­tel (27) in the Endlovini area of Ngoye on 15 Fe­bru­ary.

Del Vec­chio and Pa­tel are be­lieved to have mas­ter­minded the ab­duc­tion of the dual South African-Bri­ton cou­ple, who had been in the Ngoye For­est area search­ing for rare plants and seeds last month, and re­main at the cen­tre of the in­ter­na­tional ter­ror probe.

Un­til Del Vec­chio, Pa­tel and Them­ba­mandla Xulu (19), who had been found in pos­ses­sion of the Saun­ders cell­phones, ap­peared in the Veru­lam Mag­is­trates Court last week Tues­day for their bail ap­pli­ca­tion, the Hawks had not re­vealed the iden­tity of a pos­si­ble fourth sus­pect in the case.

Bazooka’s in­volve­ment in the el­derly cou­ple’s ab­duc­tion was brought to light when an af­fi­davit, sub­mit­ted to the court by in­ves­ti­gat­ing of­fi­cer, Anuresh Jug­per­sad Lutch­man, noted:

‘A pass­port of an­other per­son, Ah­mad Jack­son Mussa, who later be­came known with the alias Bazooka, was re­cov­ered in one of the rooms at the premises dur­ing the search.

‘A pre­lim­i­nary anal­y­sis of dig­i­tal de­vices found in Ac­cused 2’s (Del Vec­chio) pos­ses­sion in­di­cates Bazooka’s in­volve­ment in the com­mis­sion of the crimes.

‘Bazooka is still be­ing sought for ques­tion­ing by the po­lice,’ it reads.

In­for­ma­tion ob­tained and men­tioned in the af­fi­davit, in the form of spe­cific dates, pro­vided a clearer in­di­ca­tion as to when the Saun­ders were ab­ducted, but could not nar­row down the search to a spe­cific lo­ca­tion.

It is un­der­stood the miss­ing pair were within the Ngoye For­est area on 10 Fe­bru­ary as the af­fi­davit re­vealed that Del Vec­chio told Pa­tel and Bazooka that he had seen an el­derly cou­ple in the for­est and that it would be a ‘good hunt’.

Del Vec­chio is be­lieved to have, later that day, con­firmed with Pa­tel and Bazooka that ‘he has the tar­get’.

Xulu was a quiet learner

Mean­while the third ac­cused in the case, Xulu, be­lieved to have lived with Del Vec­chio and Pa­tel, was de­scribed to the ZO as a quiet and good learner.

Xulu was in grade 9 and at­tended Eza­khe­leni High School in the Oye­meni Re­serve area, near the Ngoye For­est Re­serve.

His prin­ci­pal, MK Zulu, said that Xulu would drive a red VW Polo hatch­back to school.

‘The car was parked out­side the school, nor­mally the cars - when they drop off learn­ers - don’t en­ter the school premises.

‘I didn’t want cars en­ter­ing our school yard be­cause some­one could in­ter­fere with my learn­ers.’

‘He (Themba) was a good boy; to be hon­est I was so sur­prised to hear that he was ar­rested in con­nec­tion with this case,’ Zulu said.

The ZO pre­vi­ously re­vealed that Del Vec­chio gave Xulu a ve­hi­cle to use to drop off his own chil­dren at Endlovini Pri­mary School, be­fore pick­ing them up af­ter he was fin­ished at school and re­turn­ing home.

It is also al­leged that Del Vec­chio bought Xulu’s fa­ther a ve­hi­cle prior to this.

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