13 April 2018

South Africa: The Great Jihadi Trek South

analysis

South Africa is not immune to the radicalisation that has, and is, occurring in northern Mozambique and further away in Kenya and Somalia.

The black flag of ISIS is reported to have flown over KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), large Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs) explode in Mogadishu and, back in South Africa, the terror-linked trial of twins Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie has the potential to set interesting and influential precedents for how the state will address radical Islamic terrorists.

These events highlight the ever-present threat of terror attacks and the malicious yet effective tactics and strategies of the organisations that execute them. How to evaluate the likelihood and nature of terror attacks in different contexts is becoming more and more relevant and urgent for the South African government and civil society.

The main concern of these latest incidents is not whether they are being committed by credible "terrorists" or merely common criminals, but rather that they are building a narrative and a space for this message in South Africa. In February 2018, the press reports the kidnapping of two British citizens in KZN. The alleged attackers claimed to be acting on behalf of ISIS. Their actions and apparent connection to ISIS...

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