The warnings of a possible terror attack against US interests in South Africa should be taken seriously, the Institute for Security Studies said.
However, South Africa did not have a high risk of such attacks and people should not get too carried away, its executive director Jakkie Cilliers said.
“The Americans won’t issue this if they don’t have intelligence. It’s very damaging for South Africa.”
The US Diplomatic Mission to South Africa on Tuesday warned US citizens that extremists may be targeting that country’s government facilities and business interests in South Africa.
The US had received “specific, credible, non-counterable threat information” in this regard, Cynthia Harvey said in a statement.
Cilliers said possible targets could range from US embassies, organisations like USAid, to businesses like McDonald’s and construction machinery company Caterpillar.
Groups that might want to target the US locally were the Somali Islamist group al-Shabaab, the Islamic State (ISIS), and possibly Boko Haram, which was based in north-eastern Nigeria.
Al-Shabaab was “more likely” because of the large Somali community in South Africa and Boko Haram “quite unlikely”, he said.
“But one doesn’t know.”
Harvey could not disclose more about who the threat came from.
Such security warnings were not a reflection of bilateral relations with other countries, she said.
“They are part of our commitment to protect US citizens travelling and residing abroad.” News24