The government of South Africa is reassuring citizens and visitors of its commitment to maximum national security following a warning by the United States of an imminent terrorist attack in South Africa during Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting and reflection on the origins of the Holy Quran.
The warning, which was issued by the US Embassy to South Africa, predicts plans by Islamist extremist groups to attack shopping malls and US military – this the United States says is aimed at targeting US expatriates who make up a large number of the total tourist population in the Rainbow Nation.
“This information comes against the backdrop of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s public call for its adherents to carry out terrorist attacks globally during the upcoming month of Ramadan,” the statement goes on to say.
South Africa’s Eyewitness News reports that Great Britain has since come out with its own warning nearly identical to the one issued by the US:
“There is considered to be a heightened threat of terrorist attacks globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.”
Meanwhile, spokesperson of the foreign affairs department of South Africa 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 US 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,” he revealed to The Guardian.
Even as tensions mount in South Africa, the US embassy there has assured it will remain open to the public. Embassy spokesperson Cynthia Harvey says the threats of terror ”will not affect operations at the US embassy Pretoria or our consulates in Johannesburg, Cape Town or Durban.”