Concern over ISIS infiltration
REPORTS that Islamic extremists are setting up camp in South Africa are cause for concern and a development demanding attention.
Head of the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Zululand, Professor Johan Ras, said allegations that followers of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have established training camps in the country are worrying.
‘It is definitely a matter of serious concern. ‘Here we are dealing with an international threat that was expected after 9/11 and long before the 2010 soccer World Cup.
‘South Africa is an excellent location for this group because of our well-established infrastructure,’ said Ras.
A number of incidents this year, recently summarised by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), include the murder of South African/British botanists, Rodney and Rachel Saunders in February; two murderous attacks on mosques in KZN and the Western Cape; the planting of several cellphone incendiary devices in Durban; the arrests of the Thulsie twins in Johannesburg for allegedly plotting violence against Jewish and US interests; and the arrest of an Islamic State-linked extremist in the Netherlands. ZULULULAND CONNECTION Zululand has been linked to at least two of these cases.
Sayefudeen Del Vecchio (38) and his wife Fatima Patel (27) were arrested at their homestead in the foothills of the Endlovini area, bordering the protected Ngoye Forest Reserve, in connection with the Saunders’ murders – a story which the ZO broke.
It was later revealed that Del Vecchio, Patel, Thembamandla Xulu (19) and a Malawian national, Ahmad Jackson Mussa (36), acted together in conspiring and carrying out the murder of the Saunders couple.
Xulu subsequently entered into a plea bargain with the state in terms of Section 105A of the Criminal Procedure Act and was convicted and sentenced on 25 May to three years’ imprisonment, suspended for five years, for the illegal possession of stolen property (the victims’ cell phones).
Another international link surfaced when Dutch intelligence authorities arrested Mohammed Ghorshid in July after he tried to buy bitcoins (the preferred currency of terrorist financing) with a credit card belonging to the Saunders couple.
Ghorshid was on the watch list of Dutch intelligence because of his Islamic State links.
The credit card connected Ghorshid with Del Vecchio and Patel.
The second incident which further indicated that Zululand could be home to ISIS followers was the arrest of Ahmad Haffejee (28) on the R34.
Haffejee’s property in the eShowe Hills Eco & Golf Estate was raided by members of the Durban Organised Crime Unit and a specialised task team.
He, together with 10 other men all linked to ISIS, has been accused of setting off a number of incendiary devices in and around Durban. They have also been implicated in the horrific attack at a Verulam mosque that claimed the
life of Abbas Essop.
A source told the ZO that Haffeejee, a medical representative who would often travel between Melmoth and eShowe, had at least 17 firearms registered in his name.
‘These guys are very well connected. They often possess more firearms than you or I would be allowed to have.
‘I don’t know what kind of loopholes they have found in the law to allow for that number of firearms to be registered to any one person,’ the source said.
Haffejee and his co-accused face a raft of charges, including terrorism, murder, attempted murder, extortion, kidnapping, contravention of the Explosives Act and arson. EXPANSION Professor Ras believes ISIS’s involvement in South Africa is happening now because there is a deliberate expansion plan of radical extremist groups.
‘It is common knowledge that ISIS mujahideen fighters and affiliates move from Pakistan, through Yemen, Tanzania and Mozambique into South Africa.
‘Their aim is to further divide and exploit the uncertain socio-political landscape of South African to further their own agenda among local Muslim communities.’
‘From a psycho-criminological point of view we are dealing with the forerunners of a well-placed clandestine reconnaissance group.
‘The group targets Jewish and British (Australian) interests, but especially American foreign policy.’
A huge police contingency was involved in the raid of Sayefudeen Del Vecchio’s homestead in the Endlovini area, near Ngoye, in February this year. The yellow flag is believed to be one which shows support for ISIS