News and Information

S Africa alarm over 'terror plot'
August 4, 2004
By Barnaby Phillips
BBC correspondent in Johannesburg

The South African government is trying to secure access to two of its nationals arrested in Pakistan over alleged terrorist activities.

Central Johannesburg was reported to have been targeted

A Pakistani security official told the AFP news agency that the men were planning to attack prominent government and tourist targets in South Africa.

The South African government says it is in no position to confirm this.

But newspapers have dramatic front-page headlines on the attacks allegedly being planned by al-Qaeda.

"Al-Qaeda targets South Africa," says ThisDay.

The Star says, "South Africa terror plot."

They have picked up on reports from Pakistan that the two South African Muslims arrested there were planning attacks on a series of high profile targets, including government buildings and the United States embassy in Pretoria, the Johannesburg city centre and the Cape Town waterfront.

'Evil intentions'

This is the latest in a series of rumours, linking al-Qaeda to South Africa.

In May the head of the South African police force, Jackie Selebi, said his men had arrested and deported some al-Qaeda suspects.

He said the suspects had "evil intentions" against South Africa, but he did not elaborate.

But government officials here are keen to stress that they cannot confirm anything about the latest reports.

They have received no official information from the Pakistani authorities.

Source: BBC NEWS

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