South Africa’s elite police unit took over investigation of a mosque attack near Durban which killed one person because “extremism” is suspected as a possible motive, an official said.
Africa’s most industrialised country is racked by violent crime and social strife rooted in poverty and glaring income disparities but is seldom associated with Islamist militancy seen elsewhere on the continent.
No suspects have been arrested yet over Thursday’s attack by three men armed with guns and knives in which two worshippers were injured. Witnesses said the suspects, who set the mosque alight, were Egyptian.
“On assessing the crime scene it was found there was an element of extremism to it,” said Simphiwe Mhlongo, a spokesman for the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, popularly known as the “Hawks.”
The victim who died had his throat cut.
Local media reported the victim was the mosque’s imam and from Canada but Mhlongo could not confirm those details.