26 June 2010

Zimbabwe: Mumbai Suspect Arrested On South Africa Border, Officials Play Down Terror Fears

Officials in Zimbabwe have named a Pakistani terror suspect arrested last Sunday trying to enter South Africa through Beitbridge border post.

Some reports say that the man is wanted in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks, but South African police sources have downplayed suggestions the arrest is to do with terrorism.

Sources close to the investigation in Zimbabwe say the man is 33 year-old Imran Muhammad.

He was arrested last Sunday while trying to get through Beitbridge border post to South Africa on what officials believe was a fake Kenyan passport.

He was traveling together with another Pakistani national. The Herald newspaper says that man is 39-year old Chaudry Parvez Ahmed.

They are reported to have come to Zimbabwe from Saudi Arabia, via Tanzania .

The paper says that an Imran Muhammad is wanted in connection with the terror attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai two years ago.

But it is not yet clear if the man in Zimbabwean police custody is the same person.

Before the start of the World Cup in South Africa this month, there were fears it could be targeted by terrorists.

But Zimbabwe is also a conduit for illegal immigrants trying to get into South Africa, which is an economic powerhouse in the region.

Zimbabwean police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena says investigations into the case are continuing. He won't say whether the two posed a threat to the World Cup.

South African police official Vish Naidoo has downplayed those fears today.

He's told the South African Press Agency that the two Pakistani men were arrested on suspicion of being illegal immigrants, not terrorists.

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