Crime Busters of SA: farm murders 2001-2003
Solidarity trade union: - list of farm murders
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- A Stuijt
- Retired South African medical journalist, ex-Sunday Times of Johannesburg.
Militant Somali jihadists granted asylum in South Africa
2010-05-23 JOHANNESBURG, South Africa. Among the hundreds of Somalians streaming into South Africa every month, at least 14 members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group, including a chemistry-scientist and several teachers, have been given refugee status by the home-affairs department, according to an investigation by Afrikaans Sunday paper “Rapport” journalist Jacques Pauw.
He writes: “The Department of Home Affairs who questioned Somalians before granting them refugee-permits, informed the National Intelligence Agency of the presence of various supporters of the Somalian militant group Al-Shabaab, and that they were granted refugee status in South Africa.
Picture left: March 2010 lineup of Al-Shabaab leadership source Annalytiger.files.Wordpress.com
Paul quotes a ‘highly-placed source’ at home affairs as sayng that the NIA had ‘intercepted’ 14 reported members of the Al-Shabaab group at the Lebombo border post between South Africa and Mozambique in April. Amongst the 14 Al-Shabaab members was a chemistry-scientist and several teachers. Pauw’s source said the entire group was questioned and held in detention at the Komatipoort police station for several weeks – but that since then, ‘nobody knows what has happened to them.”
The NIA refuses to comment. Last September the NIA announced an investigation into the activities of Al-
Shabaab in South Africa after the sudden, temporary closure of the United States embassy in Pretoria. This followed after ‘a call was monitored’ between members of Al-Shabaab in Cape Town and in Somalia – and which call had dealt with ways in which US interests could be attacked in South Africa. Apparently the attack was being planned in revenge of the death of al-Shabaab leader Adan Hashi Ayro - the group's military leader who was killed in a US missile attack on May 1 2009.
Pauw was informed by Mr Osman Ali - spokesman for the Somalian Council in South Africa -- that he ‘was not aware of the presence of Al-Shabaab in South Africa’. He did however admit that ‘a few fundamentalists may have entered the country. Ali said “Somalians would never jeopardise their refugee-status by getting involved in terrorist activities.” http://www.rapport.co.za/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/Militante-Somali%C3%ABrs-is-vlugtelinge-in-SA-20100522
- The Somali Association reports that more than 700 Somalis have been murdered in xenophobic attacks in South Africa over the past few years – and that shopkeepers still are being attacked and murdered regularly since that time. There now are an estimated 1,5-million Somalis in South Africa. Most are shopkeepers. http://www.somaliassociation.org/news/
Al-Shabaab – meaning ‘the youths, or the lads’ - background on AlJazeera TV:
Letters were circulated weeks before the xenophobic attacks on Somalis in May 2008:
The war in Somalia is being sustained by armed Islamist and clan militias according to Al Jazeera news agency. Chief among them is the al-Shabaab (the youth, in Arabic) militia - the former military wing of the deposed ICU that ruled Somalia before the Ethiopian-led invasion in 2007.
- Little is known about the al-Shabab but it is considered to be a well-organised, hierarchical organisation that really means business. They are no bolt from the blue - they were there long before the Islamic Courts united to engage in politics, writes AlJazeera.
The al-Shabab masterminds were led by, among others, Adan Hashi Ayro - the group's military leader who was killed in a US missile attack on May 1 2009. It is believed that Adan Ayro and his fellow al-Shabab patrons were trained in Afghanistan. They built the al-Shabab on the tenets of the Taliban - the former rulers of Afghanistan. The al-Shabab first emerged when they began combatting criminal gangs who had been in control of Mogadishu's roads - in effect, modern-day highwaymen.
Once the al-Shabab chased the gangs out of the city, they then turned to destroying the major kidnapping rings that had become a huge business in the Somali capital. This pit the Islamist youth in direct conflict with the warlords who received kickbacks from the kidnapping rings in and around Mogadishu.
Al-Shabaab fighters receive instruction on
guerrilla warfare tactics [EPA]
But the al-Shabab militia was considered a rogue vigilante group and needed public legitimacy and support if they were to take on the better-armed warlords whose territories they crisscrossed.
They found their perfect source of legitimacy in the clan-based Islamist courts system and soon became the backbone of the ICU's military strength. This alarmed the US, which always regarded Somalia as a possible safe haven for groups it considered to be global "terrorists".
It responded by supporting the warlords - sworn enemies of the ICU. Though the US government never directly confirmed its support for the warlords, Sean McCormack, then US state department spokesman, said in a May 2006 press conference: "[The US would] work with responsible individuals ... in fighting terror. It's a real concern of ours - terror taking root in the Horn of Africa. We don't want to see another safe haven for terrorists created. Our interest is purely in seeing Somalia achieve a better day."
By 2006, with the influence of the Islamists growing, a new civil war broke out in Somalia as an alliance of US-backed Mogadishu-based warlords and businessmen known as the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism (ARPCT) clashed with militias seeking to rule by Sharia law. The warlords lashed back and attacked homes of Muslim imams, some of whom they handed over to the US.
In February 2006, the al-Shabab and ICU declared a jihad against the ARPCT. Bolstered by youths happy with their cause and most of Mogadishu's business community, the Islamist militia dealt the warlords severe blows. The last of their duels in mid-2006 put Mogadishu firmly in their hands after the warlords fled in panic and defeat.
After achieving what many thought was unachievable - pacifying Mogadishu - al-Shabaab and other ICU militias began gaining new ground. They attacked other towns held by warlords and brought them under their influence.
And for some time the movement appeared unstoppable on the battlefield. This terrified the weak and powerless government which had been isolated in a corner in the Provincial Capital of Baidoa. It also sent a wave of panic across the Horn of Africa, particularly in neighbouring Ethiopia which is home to a large population of its own Muslims and is known for its intolerance of Islamist movements.
When the Ethiopian forces came to defend the frail transitional federal government in late 2006 al-Shabab did what they knew best - attack in the name of Allah. They suffered one of the quickest and most brutal defeats. But they vowed to carry on. Even US air strikes against their hideouts in a jungle along the Kenya-Somalia border did little to deter them.
They quickly re-grouped and found their way back to the capital where they engaged in guerrilla warfare against Somalia government and Ethiopian forces.
Recently, the Islamist fighters have become more brazen, carrying out attacks in daylight and seizing control of towns in southern and central Somalia.
- When the US recently put al-Shabab on its list of terrorist organisations it was a source of celebration for them. Sheikh Muktar Robow, an al-Shabab leader, welcomed US action against his followers.
"Al-Shabab feels honoured to be included on the list. We are good Muslims and the Americans are infidels. We are on the right path," he told Al Jazeera. No one knows for sure where al-Shabab gets its support. The US has in the past accused Eritrea and some Arab nations of funding the conflict being waged by al-Shabab in Somalia. It is a claim Eritrea has vehemently denied.
No doubt the death of Adan Hashi Ayro will be a huge setback to the al-Shabab. He was not only their patron but chief militia trainer. Ayro hailed from one of the most influential clans in Southern Somalia and this earned the al-Shabab admiration, support and ability to recruit militiamen from huge swathes of Somalia.
Though they have the support of some Somalis, the al-Shabab militia says it will not engage in negotiations with the transitional government and will not lay down arms until it has achieved its Islamist goals in the country. This has left many war-weary Somalis fearful that al-Shabab is becoming an impediment to any negotiated settlement and the conflict fin their country might be far from over.http://english.aljazeera.net/news/africa/2008/06/20086150523566275.html
Valiant Boer woman Cornelia de Wet was attacked five times: shot several times, targetted in a gun-fight; her house torched with the family locked inside - yet police refuses to investigate…
May 20 2010 – Carolina, Mpumalanga. Boer woman Cornelia de Wet was shot in the leg from a long distance away while working on her farm Kwaggasfontein outside Carolina – only a month after her wooden homestead was torched with her and children Cornelia, 11, two-year-old Joey asleep inside on April 17, reports Buks Viljoen of Beeld newspaper. This is the fifth time that the De Wet family has been targetted on their farm.
Mpumalanga land is in hot demand: the government has been handing out thousands of coal-mining licenses in the province to inexperienced “private mining operators’ who proceed to destroy valuable farm land in short order and are ruthless about acquiring ever-more land.
Police refuse to investigate: ‘she doesn’t know the names of the persons who injured her…’
Mrs de Wet, 32, was working in one of the camps at about 12:30 on May 19 2010 on the farm when she heard a shot go off. She felt a burning pain in her leg and saw that her right calf was bleeding. Her brother, Jan de Wet jnr, said they suspect she was wounded by a bullet which was shot from far away. Cornelia was released from the provincial hospital in Carolina after being treated.
According to her brother, this is the fifth time since the fire on April 17 that criminals have targeted the farm. She and her daughters, Cornelia, 11, and 2-year-old Joey, were sleeping in the wooden house on the night she was woken by the smell of smoke. She then discovered that she was unable open the door because “someone had secured the latch from the outside with a piece of wire”.
When she put her arm through a window to try to open the door from the outside, shots were fired at her to stop her and her family from fleeing. She then used a CB radio to call her parents, Jan snr and Nelie de Wet, who live in the farmstead about 50m from her house -- but when they rushed to her aid, the attackers opened fire on them as well.
A gunfight lasting nearly two hours then broke out while the house kept burning – and then more helpers arrived at the farm and chased the black attackers off. Jan jnr said since the fire there have also been several break-ins at the storerooms on the farm, and the vehicles on the farm were also recently vandalised. "Someone wants to force us off our family farm, but we don't know who. Our farm is the only one in the whole area which isn't the subject of a land claim.”
According to him, the police are refusing to investigate – and indeed this was confirmed by the police and for the most inane of reasons: SAPS spokesman Isaac Aphane confirmed that they were “aware of the incidents” – however, he added: “We did go to the farm, but we didn't register a complaint since she doesn't know the name of the person who injured her..."
Rampant mining is destroying the farms in SA's breadbasket
A Sunday Times of Johannesburg investigation by journalist Sipho Masondo revealed on Jan 24, 2010 why the battle for land is so brutal and fierce in Mpumalanga – the country’s breadbasket: the Department of Mineral Resources is handing out thousands of prospecting licences to inexperienced ‘new mining companies’ -- without any concerns that they are poisoning the water-supplies and churning up valuable farm-land.
The department's spokesman Jeremy Michaels, said from the 20,163 applications from black-economic-empowerment ‘companies’ to mine and prospect between 2004 and 2009, a total 16,190 were accepted. Of these, a full 5,805 ‘new miners’ were issued with mining- and - prospecting rights – which gives them the right to blunder all over private farm-land and churn up the landscape with open-case coal-mining operations.
Farmers have no rights in this regard: the ANC-regime passed law during the Mbeki-era so that the State now owns all the mineral rights. http://www.timeslive.co.za/news/article275637.ece
Carolina has traditionally always been an agricultural heartland, first of the independent Boer Republic of the Transvaal but also thereafter. The small Boer-built agricultural town lies in a fertile grass and wetlands region with an abundance of lakes, rivers and wildlife reserves. It grew up around a vital wagon route from Johannesburg to the gold fields of the Kaap Valley around the 19th Century. Eventually, farmers in the area decided to build a town as a ideal stopover for wagon trains.
One of these Voortrekker-era farmers named C.J.Coetzee, decided to offer the other farmers a portion of his farm provided that the town was named after his wife. Soon, Carolina was accordingly established in 1882. The British burnt the town down in their torched-earth campaign against the independent Boer republics in 1902 – but the town was rebuilt, including a few perfect examples of spectacular sandstone architecture in Carolina’s public buildings.
Situated in the vicinity of Carolina are the Komati Gorge and its Komati River. North-west of Carolina is a beautiful bird sanctuary: Nooitgedacht Nature Reserve. Besides the fascinating Boer-Republican era sandstone architecture of the Voortrekker town, there also are a few fine examples of San rock art - and quite a few interesting battlefields nearby.
- Land claims cases in Carolina, Mpumalanga
- Rampant mining is destroying the farms in SA's breadbasket
- Water: Our future is evaporating
- Dead mines, dead land
- The department had this to say: Environmental impact of mining underestimated
- Farmers take polluting coal miners to court
“Those Americans who stay home and watch the tournament on TV… may save more than just money; they may be saving their lives…’
Quote by Dr Deane-Peter Baker, of the Irregular Warfare Working Group at the US Naval Academy: “Despite (Police Commissioner) Cele’s flippancy … given the potential threat … President Obama may well be better off joining the many American ticket holders who are opting, in the face of soaring prices for flights and hotels, to revise their plans and instead stay home and watch the tournament on TV. Those who stay home may save more than just money; they may inadvertently be saving their lives….”
“Iraqi security officials have announced that they have arrested a Saudi national, Abdullah Azzam Saleh Misfar al-Qahtani, who claims to have been involved in planning an attack on the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa, allegedly in direct collusion with Al Qaeda number two Ayman Al Zawahiri. Some analysts have dismissed the claim as ‘a transparent propaganda ploy on the part of a struggling Iraqi government”.
Is the terrorist threat to the World Cup something that should be taken seriously? The finals of the 19th FIFA World Cup kick off on June 11 when hosts South Africa take on Mexico in Africa’s largest stadium, the nearly 95 000 seat Soccer City located in Soweto, just outside Johannesburg. Held every four years, the FIFA World Cup is the world’s biggest sporting event, rivalled only by the Summer Olympics. This is the first time the event has ever been hosted on African soil, and its success or failure is widely seen as a major test of the ‘new’ South Africa.
Reason for concern
“There are significant reasons to be concerned. A little over a month before the big day, 120,000 tickets remained unsold, and analysts are already calling this the most expensive World Cup ever. Despite official assurances to the contrary, elements of South Africa’s ‘strike-happy’ workforce are likely see disrupting the World Cup as a heaven-sent blackmail opportunity. And in a country with (one of) the world’s highest rates of violent crime, the likelihood of foreign tourists falling prey to the criminal underworld must be considered to be very high indeed. All these issues have received significant press coverage in South Africa and in the international media.
Potential terrorist threat not taken seriously – despite many warnings:
What seems to have been little considered, however, is the potential terrorist threat to the event. In early April Ronald Noble, Secretary-General of Interpol, stated confidently during a visit to South Africa that ‘no direct terrorist threat had been linked to the FIFA 2010 World Cup’. And the coordinators of the security effort for the big event have, in response to the Iraqi government’s announcement, been quick to downplay the threat. Should we believe them? No we should not.
Yearners for Paradise - ‘unstoppable bomb attack USA vs England game..
Within a few days of Noble’s comments, FIFA Secretary-General Jerome Valke publicly admitted that a post on a jihadist website called “Yearners for Paradise” had described as ‘beautiful’ an account given there of an allegedly unstoppable bomb attack touted to take place during the June 12 USA vs England game. While the author of the post, who calls himself Ubada bin Al-Samit, disclaims any connection to Al Qaeda, it is hard to imagine that team Bin Laden has not noted the potential of such an attack, and indeed the latest revelations seem to confirm this. It has been some time since the AQ brand has pulled off something spectacular, and given the increasing pressure being placed on them in Afghanistan and Pakistan, an attack on the world’s biggest sporting event would unquestionably enhance their flagging credibility.
US v UK v jihadists
Still, there are reasons to think that the threatened June 12 attack is unlikely. The match is scheduled to take place in the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, which is located in the town of Phokeng, the capital of the Royal Bafokeng Nation, in South Africa’s North West Province. The site is relatively isolated (and therefore easier to police) and the town itself is small and ethnically homogenous, meaning that outsiders planning an attack there would have difficulty doing so without drawing attention to themselves. The tournament planners are to be commended for choosing this location for the match which has the greatest potential to draw terrorist interest.
Nigh impossible to protect hundreds of thousands of Western tourists…
But there is no shortage of easier targets to hit. While the stadiums and participating teams will probably be well protected (FIFA will make sure of that), it will be nigh on impossible for South Africa’s security forces to ensure the safety of the hundreds of thousands of Western tourists who will pour into South Africa to enjoy the beaches, game reserves, mountains and the soccer.
The recently revealed plot involving al-Qahtani was to be directed at the Dutch or Danish teams. With chilling logic al-Qahtani told The Associated Press that "If we were not able to reach the teams, then we'd target the fans."
East African-based yihadists’ plans:
Arguably more worrying than the “Yearners for Paradise” posting and the now (perhaps) disrupted Al Qaeda plot, was the report leaked in October 2009 to South Africa’s Sunday Independent (among the country’s more respectable news sources) that intelligence officials had intercepted a call to an undisclosed (though probably Somali) East African based Al Qaeda-linked militant group.
- The call allegedly made reference to a planned bombing attack on US interests, possibly during the FIFA 2010 World Cup. Though South Africa’s internal intelligence service, the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), was quick to distance itself from the report, it certainly seems to be credible, particularly given the fact that the US Diplomatic Mission in South Africa took the extreme and unexplained step of closing all its facilities in South Africa for two days less than a month prior to this information becoming public.
Al-Shabaab… displaced Somalis in South Africa:
A significant number of Somalis have migrated to South Africa in recent years, and many have been the target of xenophobic attacks by South African nationals angry at having to compete with them for very limited economic resources. Added to poverty, this xenophobic hostility makes for fertile ground for anyone seeking to radicalise displaced Somalis living in South Africa. Furthermore, given that groups like al-Shabaab are currently on the back foot and seeking funding and other support through alliance with Al Qaeda, such a move would seem to be very much in their interests.
Home threats from G-Force unit of PAGAD
There is also some danger of attacks being carried out by home-grown terrorists. Many seem to have forgotten that between 1998 and 2002, a cell of a Cape Town based Islamic organisation, the ‘G-Force’ unit of PAGAD (People Against Gangsterism and Drugs) carried out over 100 bomb attacks and numerous shootings in and around Cape Town.
- While PAGAD was originally formed as a vigilante organisation, G-Force’s targets soon broadened to include attacks on government buildings, synagogues, gay bars and targets considered to be symbolic of the West (such as the Planet Hollywood Restaurant, which was bombed in August of 1998, killing 2 and injuring 26).
Though PAGAD’s membership is drawn entirely from the approximately 200,000 Muslims who are part of the so-called ‘Coloured’ community of the Western Cape, it has been suggested in some quarters that links were formed between G-Force and Middle Eastern militant groups. The end of G-Force’s campaign of violence was claimed as an intelligence victory by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the NIA, though there is some evidence that it had more to do with internal splits than effective action by the security forces. PAGAD itself, which has consistently denied complicity in the attacks, continues to exist, though its activities have been less public in recent years.
Right-wing terror plot:
A home-grown attack could also come from another direction. In the wake of the recent murder of right-wing extremist and founder of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement) Eugene Terre'Blanche, who was beaten to death by two disgruntled black farmworkers over an alleged pay dispute (*), racial tensions have been raised significantly in South Africa’s already racially polarised society. In early May Police Minister Nathi Mthetwa announced that the police had ‘broken up’ a plot by white supremacists to unleash a bombing campaign in South Africa’s black townships, presumably in response to Terre'Blanche’s killing. While there is no indication that this particular plot was specifically directed at the FIFA 2010 World Cup, the same reasons that would make the soccer spectacle appealing to Islamic extremists would apply just as much to white extremists seeking attention for their “cause”. (*)
- (*) Note by Censorbugbear-reports editor: this supposed ‘plot’ never existed but was a fabrication by the SAPS:
- “Right wing terrorist plot – State’s case collapses
‘Low-quality police in a highly criminalised society…’
Police commissioner General Bheki Cele recently sought to reassure the public regarding the country’s 2010 Security Plan. He announced that over 40,000 police would be deployed under the plan – an average of just under 4,500 for each of the nine host cities.
- In effect however, the number will be lower than that, given that many of these police officers will be deployed to airports, sea ports and no fewer than 54 land border crossing points.
Considering that these police, who are generally of relatively low quality by Western standards, will have to deal with over 2.2 million soccer fans (around 300,000 of whom will be foreign tourists) against the backdrop of a highly criminalised society, it is questionable how reassuring General Cele’s announcement should be.
On the plus side, however, specialised police units are well trained and equipped, and it is likely that the security plan will also involve well respected South African National Defence Force Special Forces units. The broader plan involves South African Air Force BAE Systems Hawk and SAAB Gripen fighter aircraft enforcing restricted flight zones in the airspace around the stadiums, and South African Navy Valour-class frigates and smaller vessels patrolling the maritime domain adjacent to coastal World Cup host cities.
- SA Navy’s limited number of platforms could not prevent attack from the sea:
- While the plan seems likely to be successful in mitigating against a 9/11 style attack, it is more questionable whether the Navy’s limited number of platforms would be adequate to prevent a Mumbai style attack from the sea, particularly given how busy ports like Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town are.
Only four companies of troops to secure nearly 5,000-km of poorly-guarded borders:
A further security measure that is frequently referred to is the recent implementation of South African Army patrols on the national borders. But this ignores the fact that this deployment has little to do with the World Cup, represents a commitment of little more than four companies of troops, and is likely to have very little impact on securing nearly 5,000 kilometers of notoriously poorly guarded land borders.
The biggest problem with the security measures that are being put in place for the World Cup is that they do little to address deeper problems which offer significant advantages to would-be attackers. High levels of corruption, relatively ineffective policing and porous borders represent a permissive environment for those with terrorist ambitions.
El Qaeda militants have long made use of SA passports from criminal syndicates
It has long been known that Al Qaeda militants and other terrorists have made significant use of South African passports obtained from criminal syndicates, and that South Africa, with its large ethnically South Asian population has been a popular transit point for international would-be jihadists headed for Pakistan and Afghanistan.
- Last year concerns about the security of South African passports led the British government to implement a visa requirement for South Africans travelling to the UK – the first time in the history of British-South African relations.
firearms, commercial explosives easily available from criminal syndicates:
Firearms, including AK-47’s and other automatic weapons, are readily available to those with connections to the criminal underworld. Commercial explosives pilfered from South Africa’s mines can also be relatively easily obtained, as evidenced by the number of criminally-motivated ATM bombings that have taken place in the country in recent years (over 1,000 in 2008 alone).
Time has also been on any would-be attackers’ side. At kick-off, it will have been over seven years since South Africa was confirmed as hosts of the FIFA 2010 World Cup.
- By way of comparison, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told his interrogators that planning for the highly sophisticated 9/11 attacks started in 1996, just five years before the attacks were carried out.
(Police commissioner) Cele recently joked with South Africa’s Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Policing that his ‘prayer’ is that the US team will not make it through to the second round of the World Cup, as that way he will probably not have to deal with a visit by President Obama, which South African security officials have been advised is a real possibility if the US team performs well.
A visit by Obama, claims Cele, would require as much work for South Africa’s security forces as preparing for all of the other 43 visiting heads of state put together.
American ticket holders are staying home to watch the tournament:
Despite Cele’s flippancy, that level of security preparation would, given the potential threat, seem to be entirely justified. Indeed, President Obama may well be better off joining the many American ticket holders who are opting, in the face of soaring prices for flights and hotels, to revise their plans and instead stay home and watch the tournament on TV. Those who stay home may save more than just money; they may inadvertently be saving their lives.”
Dr Baker is a member of the Irregular Warfare Working Group and the Africa Forum at the US Naval Academy, where he teaches in the Department of Leadership, Ethics and Law. He is also a 2010-2011 Academic Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Dr Baker has served in the British Army and later as a reservist in the South African Army. Before moving to the United States Dr Baker was Director of the Strategic Studies Group of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, where he taught for eleven years. Dr Baker is editor of the African Security Review, the leading research journal on African security matters, and has published widely on issues including terrorism, counterinsurgency, strategy and military ethics. All opinions expressed here are solely those of the author, and do not represent the position of the US Naval Academy, the US Navy or the US Government. http://sareporter.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1357&Itemid=71
- New Partnerships for a New Era: Enhancing the South African Army's Stabilization Role in Africa
- US government travel warnings for South Africa
Xenophobic ethnic-cleansing campaign of black foreigners in May 2008:
Right-wing terror plot never existed: