Computer hackers claiming links to the terrorist group ISIS targeted a South African government website.
The website of the Department of Basic Education was hit by cyber attackers who posted gory pictures of decapitated corpses — some of whom were children — according to IOL.
The group of hackers, who go by the name Team System Dz, expressed their support for ISIS and its so-called Islamic State:
A message to the government, the American people and the rest of the world. Is this the humanity that you claim, or is life irrelevant to Muslims? Do not imagine that these actions against Muslims will pass you and we will forget what you did to the Arab and Muslim peoples all over the world. I love Islamic State.
The education department confirmed the attack and said in a statement that it has temporarily shut down the website while investigations are ongoing:
We distance ourselves from the brutal images that incite hatred and violence. We have taken immediate steps to have the images removed from our website and investigate how the website has been hacked. In this regard we have contacted the State Information and Technology Agency (SITA) that is responsible for security systems to deal with the hacking as a matter of urgency.
We are currently working together with SITA to deal with the hack and reclaim the website. We also condemn such acts in the strongest terms.
In the meantime we appeal to members of the public to be patient with us as we have since taken down the website while working to restore it. An investigation is under way to establish the source of the hack.
While it is unclear if Team System Dz has direct links to ISIS or any jihadist group, Wednesday’s attack serves to highlight a worrying spread in terror and religious extremism across Africa.
In addition to jihadist activity in Mali, the onslaught of Boko Haram in Nigeria and the surrounding areas of Cameroon, Chad, and Niger in addition to the ongoing terrorist activities of al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya have been well-documented.
In July 2016, two South African men were arrested for allegedly trying to blow up the U.S. embassy in Pretoria and for planning attacks, targeting a number of Jewish Institutions. They were also accused of planning to join the Islamic State in Syria.
And in June, five Angolan men with suspected links to ISIS were charged with planning a jihadist attack and using social media to radicalize others.