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As many as 19 suspects linked to a deadly mosque attack and several “bombs placed” in and around Durban will on Monday appear at the Verulam Magistrate Court, in KwaZulu-Natal, said the Directorate For Priority Crime Investigation, better known as the Hawks.
Between March and August this year, Durban and surrounding areas were plagued with several incidents in which devices thought to be bombs were reportedly placed in public places.
Authorities had to find and detonate them. There were also widespread hoax callers.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said all the suspects were arrested last week Friday in and around Durban by an integrated team involving the Hawks (Crimes Against the State), Crime Intelligence, the Forensic Unit and the National Prosecuting Authority, including other departments from the justice cluster.
“During the arrest, various items were confiscated including a ready-made incendiary device. Members also managed to rescue a victim who was found chained and malnourished inside a dungeon in one of the houses.
“The victim is under police protection in one of the hospitals in the Kwazulu Natal province,” said Mulaudzi. He said the suspects are likely to face charges of murder, attempted murder, extortion, kidnapping, contravention of the Explosive Act and arson.
More charges cannot be ruled out. Police minister Bheki Cele said: “The government has deemed the incidents as very serious and they demanded a thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to book. Nothing will distract or divert our attention from creating a safe and secure environment for all people of South Africa.
“I also want to reiterate the government stance and reassure South Africans that we, as the South African Police Service, will continue to do everything within our constitutional mandate to ensure that people are and feel safe.”
Cele congratulated the multi-disciplinary team for arresting the 19 suspects.