Jihadist activities unacceptable, rather spread love and peace – Lindiwe Sisulu

 

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu wants South Africans to spread love and peace, and found it unacceptable they should be involved in terror groups.

Sisulu also wanted local authorities to ensure that no South African citizen became involved in activities which destabilised other countries.

This followed the bringing of charges against Andre Mayer Hanekom in Mozambique, and Sisulu said yesterday she had asked local law enforcement agencies to look into the activities of Hanekom, arrested on suspicions of being involved with a jihadist group.

Originally known as Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama – Arabic for “followers of the prophet” – the group is commonly referred to by locals and officials as Al-Shabaab, although it has no known link to the Somali jihadist group of the same name.

“The people of South Africa and Mozambique share a very deep political history and very strong economic relations. It is not acceptable that a South African citizen is in court for alleged involved in extreme jihadists activities that resulted in loss of life. South African citizens should spread love and peace across the SADC area, continent and the world,” Sisulu said.

In court documents made available to the media on Monday, Mozambican prosecutors said Hanekom, together with two Tanzanians – Chafim Mussa and Adamu Nhaungwa Yangue – faced charges of murder, crimes against the state and inciting civil disobedience, among others.

Its militants are reportedly seeking to impose Sharia law in the Muslim-majority Cabo Delgado province.

Jihadist fighters have terrorised remote communities in the gas-rich Cabo Delgado region for a year, staging brazen gun and knife attacks on civilians and leaving more than 100 dead and thousands fleeing their homes.

The suspects, except Hanekom, had “confessed that the group intends with their armed actions to create instability and prevent the exploitation of natural gas in Palma, and later create an independent state, which annexes the districts of the northern region of Cabo Delgado and the south of Tanzania,” according to the charge sheet.

Hanekom, 60, was formally arrested in August in a hospital after being seized by the military from a restaurant in the gas industry hub town of Palma after he had tried to resist, was shot in the shoulder and ended up in hospital, according to local police reports.

Affectionately referred to as Baba mzungo, which translates to “white father”, Hanekom was responsible for the group’s logistics, including payment of monthly salaries equivalent to $160 (about R2 290), and the provision of medicines.

Machetes, arrows and gunpowder were found at the home of Hanekom, who has been operating a maritime business in Palma.

The court papers list several attacks linked to the group, including one on October 5, 2017, in the town of Mocimboa da Praia, where a police station was the target.

Three officers were killed in the attacks, and arms and ammunition were stolen.

amandaw@citizen.co.za

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Original Story by www.citizen.co.za

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