SA, US co-operating in hunt for ISIS funders

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Two South African government departments – Finance in the form of National Treasury and Justice and Correctional Services – are working with United States authorities in efforts to “track down individuals allegedly involved with terrorist organisation ISIS in South Africa”.

This is according to a joint statement issued by the departments headed by Enoch Godongwana (Finance) and Ronald Lamola (Justice and Correctional Services) following a US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanction against four Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and ISIS-Mozambique (ISIS-M) financial facilitators based in South Africa earlier this week.

The joint statement reads, in part: “We remain committed to fighting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and will not allow our territory to be used to fund terrorism in other countries.

“The relevant South African authorities investigating this matter have been engaging with relevant US authorities on the OFAC designation. Further details on engagements and related investigations cannot be revealed at this stage.”

South Africa is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and is committed to countering money laundering and terror financing.

“Co-operating and providing support and assistance to other States and relevant international and regional organisations is a critical component of protecting our constitutional democracy against terrorist and related activities,” according to the joint statement as reported by SAnews.

OFAC named four “individuals allegedly playing an increasingly central role in facilitating funds transfer from top ISIS hierarchy to branches across Africa”.

They are: Farhad Hoomer, who allegedly helped organise and begin the operations of a Durban-based ISIS cell between 2017 and 2018; Siraaj Miller, allegedly leader of a Cape Town-based group of ISIS supporters. Miller allegedly provided financial assistance to ISIS training members to conduct robberies to raise funds for ISIS. In 2018 Miller allegedly aided in acquiring temporary safe houses for ISIS; Abdella Hussein Abadigga, allegedly recruited young men in South Africa and sent them to a weapons training camp. Abadigga controlled two mosques and allegedly used his position to extort money. These funds were allegedly sent via a hawala to ISIS supporters elsewhere in Africa; and Peter Charles Mbaga allegedly facilitated funds transfers from South Africa and allegedly attempted to procure weapons from Mozambique.