Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Twin South Africans Arrested in Terrorist Plot

Twin South Africans Arrested in Terrorist Plot by David Firester

The Arrest 

On Saturday, July 7, twin brothers from South Africa, Brandon-Lee Thulsie and Tony-Lee Thulsie, were arrested for planning attacks on the U.S. embassy and other Jewish institutions. The brothers, each twenty-three years of age, were apparently planning on joining ISIS following their attacks. Two other coconspirators were arrested as well. At the time of the arrest, police found stockpiles of ammunition and grenades in one suspect’s home. The elite police unit, known as the Hawks, that conducted the arrest confiscated the suspects’ computers and mobile phones.


The arrest came at the conclusion of an investigation that lasted approximately ten months. Based on reports, authorities had been watching them for some time, even preventing them from traveling to Syria on more than one occasion in that ten-month span. Investigators believe that the twin brothers along with their counterparts may be members of a terror cell located in the country. These are the first arrests made in South Africa that are directly related to the Islamic State.

Court Appearance

On Monday, both Thulsie brothers appeared in a South African court. They arrived with their heads covered with hooded jackets. During the hearing, the twins were formally charged with conspiring to commit terrorists acts. They were also accused of trying to incite others to take up their cause. According to the New York Times, there was evidence that the brothers had been acting to promote the Islamic State since last October. They will remain in custody until July 19th when they will be summoned back to the court for further investigation.

Islamic State a Growing Threat in South Africa

According to the Mail & Guardian, an African website, Muslims only make up about 1.5% of the total population of South Africa. The country has yet to have experienced the kind of terrorist acts that other countries have suffered at the hands of Jihadists. However, authorities have warned that South Africans should be on their guard. Just because a catastrophic event has not yet occurred, does not mean that one will not occur in the near future. There is evidence that pro-Islamic State activities and communications are on the rise. In September of 2015, the United States government issued a formal warning to travelers heading to South Africa about extremist activity. Specifically, they cautioned their citizens about visiting shopping areas and malls at or near Cape Town and Johannesburg. The British and Australian governments have each issued similar warnings to their citizens traveling to South Africa.

David Firester is an experienced intelligence analyst.

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