Four South Africans have been sanctioned by the United States for leading Islamic State cells in their countries or facilitating support for some branches overseas, including transferring funds or procuring weapons.
According to the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, Farhad Hoomer, Siraaj Miller, Abdella Hussein Abadigga and Peter Charges Mbaga have been designated as Islamic State organisers or facilitators, prohibiting U.S. entities from engaging in certain transactions with them.
This action was taken by Treasury to disrupt and expose key ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) supporters who use South Africa’s financial system to fund ISIS branches and networks across Africa, the statement said.
The report also stated that ISIS intended to expand its influence in Africa via large-scale operations in areas where government control is limited, using local fundraising schemes such as theft, kidnapping, extortion, ransom, and bank robberies alongside support from the organization’s hierarchy.
Security experts say South Africa has faced relatively few terror threats on its own turf, but that it helps fund and supply groups elsewhere on the continent, including in neighbouring Mozambique, where the United States recently designated an insurgent group as part of the Islamic State.
The four people Washington sanctioned were accused of extortion, kidnapping for ransom, recruiting, and training members of the Islamic State in addition to obtaining weapons and safe houses.
The United States said that Hoomer operated an ISIS cell in Durban on the east coast of South Africa. He was arrested in 2018 over alleged involvement in an attack on a mosque and planting explosive devices in the area.
Local media reported that prosecutors delayed filing the case against the group until 2020.
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