Mozambique emerges as a base of operations for al-Qaeda’s jihadists. “Plot to bomb US buildings, disrupt World Cup,” by Makhudu Sefara and Peter Fabricius for IOL, October 11:
Tired of fighting, and largely losing, against the US in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia, a group of Somali terrorists devised a strategy to take on the superpower in South Africa.
There’s a questionable assertion: The fact that Somali jihadists are threatening locales beyond Somalia’s borders shows how comfortable and well-connected they are within that country that they can expand their operations. Beyond that, there are many ways in which the preceding paragraph is oversimplified and inaccurate: Are Somali jihadists fighting the U.S. in Pakistan? There may be contacts in training camps, but the text paints… a rather different picture.
The Sunday Tribune can reveal that the US’s closure of its offices in the country was because of intercepted cellphone communication detailing planned attacks on American interests here. It is unclear whether American interests necessarily include a possible visit by US President Barack Obama for the official opening of the World Cup.
Intelligence officers, according to two sources, intercepted a call made in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, to a group based in Somalia, and the conversation confirmed a plot to blow up American interests in South Africa last month. […]
A source said US intelligence agents, South Africa’s National Intelligence Agency and SAPS Crime Intelligence operatives launched a surveillance operation on the Cape-based group, gathering crucial information before the operation was thrown into disarray.
NIA spokeswoman Lorna Daniels refused to comment yesterday, threatening legal action.
As the embassies were closed just before Heritage Day, National Police Commissioner Bheki Cele went on TV to say the country’s intelligence structures were on top of the situation.
This, it was established, led to the group discarding the SIM cards and the phones they had used, to cover their tracks.
Here is what the authors probably meant in the opening paragraph:
The source said: “What has been established is that the Cape guys are linked to al-Qaeda cells in Somalia, who are connected to the group in Afghanistan. We have established that most al-Qaeda operatives are relocating from Afghanistan to Pakistan, attracted by increased lawlessness in Pakistan.
“Our information is that there is a trail that links Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and, most interestingly, Mozambique, where Somalis have formed an anti-US cell already.
“The interception revealed that these people plan to move en masse from Mozambique to here (South Africa) in 2010 to attack American interests. Their point is that South Africa is not a target, but if South Africans are caught in the crossfire, then that would be unfortunate.”…