4th accused in disappearance of horticulturist couple appears in court

2018-03-26 14:53
Magistrate's Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Magistrate's Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

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A man suspected of being linked to the disappearance of an internationally acclaimed horticulturist couple appeared in the Verulam Magistrate's Court on Monday, following his arrest last week.

Ahmad Jackson Mussa‚ 36, also known as Bazooka, appeared before Magistrate Valaramen Kathravaloo in baggy jeans and a green shirt. 

Mussa, who is thought to have links to terror group ISIS, is being charged with murder.

He was sought by police in the case of horticulturists Rod and Rachel Saunders, who went missing near the Bivane Dam in Vryheid, KwaZulu-Natal, on February 12.

Kathravaloo ruled that Mussa would appear with his co-accused - Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio, 38, Fatima Patel, 27, and 19-year-old Themba Xulu - on April 12.

Read: Co-accused of suspected ISIS couple denied bail

Mussa had his matter postponed so he could finalise his representation, after it became unclear whether Legal Aid could represent him. The Malawian Embassy would also be contacted, Kathravaloo said.

Mussa, believed to be a Malawian national, could not produce papers proving his citizen status or explain his reasons for being in South Africa.

"We do not know anything about this man's citizenship. He could be a fugitive of the law for all we know," Kathravaloo said.

Mussa was arrested on Thursday, March 22, in the Newlands area in Durban by police.

His passport was found during a police raid on the home of Del Vecchio and Patel‚ near Mtunzini in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

A previous affidavit presented in court by the investigating officer showed alleged communication between Del Vecchio‚ Patel and a man named "Bazooka".

It said the trio had communicated over six days after the Saunders' were last heard from.

"On February 9, there are discussions of preparing to kill the kuffar (non-believer) and abduct their allies‚ to destroy infrastructure and to put fear in to the heart of the kuffar."

The court papers said that a preliminary analysis of digital devices indicated "Bazooka's" involvement in the commission of the crimes.

Read more on:    durban  |  crime  |  court

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