‘Bazooka’ terrorist suspect net closes in
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.