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11 accused of KZN mosque attack, ISIS links receive bail

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It was all smiles in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday after bail was granted to all eleven men accused of attacking a Shia mosque and placing several explosive devices in public places across Durban.

Farhad Hoomer, Ahmed Haffejee, Mohamad Akbar, Iddy Omari, Mahammed Sobruin, Abubakar Ali, Ndikumana Shabani and Abbas Jooma were granted bail ranging from R200 000 to R500, while Seiph Mohamed, Thabit Mwenda and Amani Mayani were released on a warning.

Part of their bail conditions is that they don’t leave KwaZulu-Natal unless they inform the investigating officer. They were expected to return to the court on February 22, 2019, while further investigations continue.

The courtroom was packed with heavy security as the men appeared before Magistrate Irfan Khalil who delivered his day-long judgement.

Khalil often highlighted that many of the accused were in police custody for merely occupying the property where initial arrests had been made 53 days ago.

He said that evidence before him could not connect the accused directly to terror links.

Khalil said that the first accused and businessman, Hoomer, could not be specifically linked to any bombings or planting of devices.

“The evidence simply does not support him being denied bail on a prima facie level.”

Kidnap victim unable to identify captor

A white Hyundai Getz and VW Polo Vivo, allegedly used in the mosque attack and the planting of an explosive device at a Woolworths store in Gateway in Umhlanga, were registered in Hoomer’s name.

He was previously identified as the “leader of the group” by investigating officer Benedict Chonco.

Khalil said it was also problematic that a kidnapping victim – who was found in a home owned by Hoomer – could not accurately identify their captor.

“The victim identified those in an identification parade who were not accused.”

Khalil said investigations would likely only be completed in mid-2019 or early 2020 with the trial estimated to conclude by 2021.

During their arrests, the men were found in possession of an ISIS newsletter and a manual on how to make bombs and carry out assassinations, the court heard.

The accused are from South Africa, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania, the court also heard.

They face 14 charges including murder, attempted murder, arson, extortion and the violation of Pocdatara (the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act).

[Source: News24]
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