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United States sanctions four South African-based ‘Isi...

South Africa

ISIS IN SA

United States sanctions four South African-based ‘Isis financial facilitators’

Abu Hurayra, thought to be the first South African jihadi in Syria, poses with an assault rifle. (Photo: Supplied)

The United States has sanctioned four alleged Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) and Isis-Mozambique (Isis-M) facilitators based in South Africa allegedly linked to recruitment, robberies, kidnapping and extortion. One is a KwaZulu-Natal-based businessman previously flagged when the focus was on an alleged Isis ‘training facility’ after a mosque attack in that province.

‘Isis members and associates in South Africa are playing an increasingly central role in facilitating the transfer of funds from the top of the Isis hierarchy to branches across Africa.”

This is the alarming warning from the Office of Foreign Assets Control that falls under the US Department of the Treasury. 

On Tuesday, 1 March 2022 it sanctioned four alleged Isis facilitators based in South Africa. This effectively means the four are blocked from doing business with the United States. A statement on the sanctions said Isis recently tried to expand its grip in Africa “through large-scale operations in areas where government control is limited”. 

“Isis branches in Africa rely on local fundraising schemes such as theft, extortion of local populations, and kidnapping for ransom, as well as financial support from the Isis hierarchy.”

In November 2021 Daily Maverick reported that President Cyril Ramaphosa said Islamist insurgents who had been attacking countries such as  Mozambique and Uganda could also make their way to South Africa.

On Tuesday, Farhad Hoomer was among those identified by the US. In October 2018 Daily Maverick reported that Hoomer was among those allegedly involved in a May 2018 Shi’a mosque attack in Verulam (or more precisely, the nearby village of Ottawa), KwaZulu-Natal, in which one person was killed and two others wounded, as well as attempted bombings around Durban.

Inside the community where terror struck

At the time Daily Maverick reported: “Police allege that Hoomer was the ringleader of the gang and that his home was used as a ‘training facility’ for Isis-inspired acts of violence. It was also from Hoomer’s property that a kidnapped Tanzanian man was rescued after several weeks’ imprisonment.”

On Tuesday, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control released a statement mentioning Hoomer, who was listed as a South African citizen based in KwaZulu-Natal. It alleged:

“Between 2017 and 2018, Farhad Hoomer helped organize and begin the operations of a Durban, South Africa-based Isis cell. 

“Hoomer, who is the leader of the Durban-based Isis cell, has provided some of his known residential properties and vehicles registered in his name to sponsor the cell’s meetings and operational activities.

“In his role, Hoomer claimed to have recruited and trained cell members and was in contact with members of Isis-Democratic Republic of the Congo (Isis-DRC) and Isis supporters throughout South Africa.”

The US alleged that “Hoomer raised funds through kidnap-for-ransom operations and extortion of major businesses” and this resulted in more than R1-million for his Isis cell.

“In 2018, South African authorities arrested Hoomer along with his associates for their involvement in a plan to deploy improvised incendiary devices near a mosque and commercial and retail buildings,” the US statement said.

However, in July 2020 in South Africa, it was reported that the case — mainly focusing on the Verulam mosque incident — against Hoomer and 11 other accused had been struck off the roll because further aspects of the investigations still needed to be completed.

On Tuesday, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control also listed three others, aside from Hoomer, as being sanctioned. It alleged a second figure, Siraaj Miller, led a Cape Town-based group of Isis supporters.

It said Miller was from Mitchells Plain. He allegedly “provided financial assistance to Isis by training members to conduct robberies to raise funds for Isis. In 2018, Miller also aided in acquiring temporary safe houses for Isis.”

Another individual, Abdella Hussein Abadigga, originally from Ethiopia, but whose address was listed in Johannesburg, was accused of recruiting and sending young men in South Africa to a weapons training camp.

Abadigga, who controlled two mosques in South Africa, used his position to extort money from members of the mosques,” the US Office of Foreign Assets Control said.

“Abadigga sent these funds via a hawala to Isis supporters elsewhere in Africa. Bilal al-Sudani, a US-designated Isis leader in Somalia, considered Abadigga a trusted supporter who could help the Isis supporters in South Africa become better organized and recruit new members.”

Online business records from South Africa show an individual by the name of Abadigga was involved in running an Islamic centre in Gauteng.

A fourth individual, Peter Charles Mbaga, originally from Tanzania with an address in Johannesburg, was alleged to have transferred funds from South Africa.

The US alleged: “Mbaga sought to provide support to Isis-M by helping the group procure equipment from South Africa. Mbaga also sought to procure weapons from Mozambique.” DM

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  • Our useless security services, paralysed prosecuting authority and porous borders could, probably will, allow a crisis o that dwarfs what we have seen so far. Qyestions: how did two extremists gain residence etc, in SA; why haven’t they been deported along with anyone involved with them; what is being done to prevent ISIS gaining a financial foothold and operating from and in S.A.?

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