ISIS is here

07 April 2015 - 02:01 By Graeme Hosken, Katharine Child, Penwell Dlamini and Aphiwe Deklerk

The 15-year-old girl caught moments before her British Airways flight could take her from Cape Town to her Islamic State recruiters is not the first South African to be recruited by the terrorist organisation. As details emerged about how the Kenwyn teenager was recruited through social media, the State Security Department last night said there had been other "possible recruitments".Brian Dube, spokesman for State Security Minister David Mahlobo, told The Times: "This is not the first case to come to the fore that we are currently investigating."We have been picking up information about other possible recruitments in this country."He refused to identify other recruits.The girl, who cannot be named, was released into her parents' custody.The entire family is being questioned by State Security to establish exactly how the girl, who lives in a neighbourhood of both Christians and Muslims, was recruited by IS and what her role was to be.Neighbours said many youths in the neighbourhood had been recruited.A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "There are a number of radical Muslims in the area, some of whom are extremists. But most of the Muslims here are moderates."The family of the girl, who lives in a modest double-storey house, refused to comment.Other neighbours reported that they seldom saw members of the family.A neighbour said he was shocked when he learned that the girl had been recruited."That's ridiculous. Who the f**k is IS? It makes me cross that people can't look after their daughters. This is pathetic. Fifteen years old? What has she got to do with the affairs of the Middle East?"It was discovered that the teenager, whose mother is a medical doctor, was missing when she failed to answer her grandparents' call for her to come to breakfast.She had left the house after locking her bedroom door and escaping through a window, reportedly leaving behind documents linking her to Islamic State.It was initially thought by the police that she was a runaway and the family were turned away by Landsowne police, who told them, in contravention of police procedure, that they had to wait 24 hours before reporting her missing.Crime Line's Yusuf Abramjee said community leaders contacted him and he alerted the Western Cape police commissioner, who raised the alarm with the State Security Department.Airports and border posts were immediately notified and given a description of the girl.The girl was found aboard the BA aircraft, with a ticket to Saudia Arabia, moments before it was due to lift off for Johannesburg.The girl does not have a public Facebook account in her name and a Twitter account in her name has not been used since November 2012.Her family, however, told Crime Line that she was active on social media.One of her last tweets, posted in 2012 read: "When Muslims are massacred daily, it's nothing, as soon as one Jew is killed, the whole world wants 'justice' i#PrayForGaza."Martin Ewi, a senior researcher for the Institute for Security Studies, warned: "If it has got to the level of a 15-year-old, it means the [IS recruitment] programme is well entrenched. The government can no longer ignore this."He said someone must have lured the teenager into joining the terrorist group."There is a recruitment service. She would have talked to somebody face to face. A 15-year-old would need more than an internet appeal to be persuaded to join IS."He said there had been reports of South Africans joining IS in Syria."They have, however, never been arrested."Some reports suggest that up to 200 South Africans have been recruited.In February, The Times reported the UN Security Council's warning that about 11 international terrorists were considering using South Africa as a base. The UN said the 11 were linked to al-Qaeda and IS.Muslim Judicial Council spokesman Nabeweya Malickworried about teens falling prey to IS."We need to find out who is involved."

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