Authorities are yet to confirm the status of a suspected Verulam mosque bomb. A device resembling what appears to be a bomb was found in the Imam Hussein mosque, in Kwazulu-Natal yesterday evening. The discovery came just hours after Police Minister, Bheki Cele, visited the mosque. This after the mosque was attacked leaving one dead last week. Reaction Unit South Africa was alerted to a suspicious device at 18h49 on Sunday evening at the mosque, which is located on Old Main Road in Ottawa, Verulam.
Reaction Unit South Africa spokesperson Prem Balram explained that on arrival on the scene, the team was informed by approximately 20 worshipers that a “bomb-like device” was found inside the prayer area of the mosque.
Balram said that a worshipper carried the device to the entrance of the building.
He said officers evacuated several residences surrounding the mosque precinct and cleared the mosque after the device was found.
“The bomb squad officers spent several hours – I think in excess of four-hours on scene yesterday – and finally took the device to the laboratory for analysis after x-raying it on scene,” Balram stated.
In footage shared by Reaction Unit, authorities can be seen evacuating the area surrounding the mosque precinct:
Balram said authorities are yet to confirm whether the device is in fact a bomb.
“At this stage, they are treating it as a bomb. It genuinely looks like a bomb and we will only know after the test comes back.”
Balram noted that the device could have been missed, after the initial sweep by authorities, but this cannot be confirmed at this stage.
According to him, no person had access to the mosque.
“I interviewed worshippers at this mosque who initially informed me that the device could have been planted there earlier in the day. However, the mosque was closed down [and] heavily guarded by the South African Police Service and private security,” Balram added.