South African twins Brandon Lee and Tony Lee Thulsie have been charged with an attempt to commit acts of terror against three targets as well as join the terrorist organisation Islamic State in Syria.
A South African court has charged the identical twin brothers with terrorism for allegedly plotting to attack Jewish targets and a U.S. diplomatic mission.
Reports indicate that the 23-year-old brothers were arrested, after South Africa’s elite police unit raided two houses confiscating a number of items including computers and mobile phones that are believed to have been used by the brothers to plot their acts of terror.
“We stopped them from flying to Syria and the airline concerned was also informed, and they were refused access,” said Hangwani Mulaudzi, spokesman for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, widely known as the Hawks.
A brief appearance in court saw the brothers covering their heads with hooded jackets as they were whisked away by police in to custody, where they will remain incarcerated until the 19 of July.
The arrest of the Thulsies, who the police claim may be a part of a terror cell in South Africa, follows earlier warnings by the United States over possible attacks in South Africa. The warning, which was issued by the U.S. Embassy to South Africa, predicts plans by Islamist extremist groups to attack shopping malls and U.S. military in order to target U.S. expatriates who make up a large number of the total tourist population in the Rainbow Nation, according to the Guardian.
But Foreign Affairs Department of South Africa Spokesperson Clayson Monyela says South Africa’s security forces are at the helm of ensuring the peace and safety of both citizens and foreigners, pointing to false alarms the United States has raised in previous years.
“The state security agency and other security agencies in this country are very much capable of keeping South Africa safe and everybody in this country, including Americans. The last time they did this, towards the end of last year, nothing came out of that advisory,” Monyela said.
Meanwhile, terrorism expert at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa Martin A. Ewi argues that the recent bout of terror threats drives home the need for the South African government to revise policies on national security, especially when the suspects didn’t change their behavior even though they were under surveillance since last year.