19 suspects to appear in court for KZN mosque attack, bomb scares - Hawks

Members of the Hawks at the Imam Hussain mosque in Verulam, outside Durban, after police found an explosive device at the mosque. (File)
Members of the Hawks at the Imam Hussain mosque in Verulam, outside Durban, after police found an explosive device at the mosque. (File)
Kerushun Pillay

Nineteen suspects are expected to appear in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Monday in connection with the fatal attack at a KwaZulu-Natal mosque and the placement of several explosive devices at Durban shopping centres since March this year, according to the Hawks.

Hawks provincial spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo told News24 that the suspects would appear in court after lunch.

On Monday morning, News24 observed that security had been beefed up inside and outside court with police officers, in addition to the court's security guards.

ALSO READ: 3 suspects linked to KZN bomb scares and Verulam mosque attack arrested

The suspects are likely to face charges of murder, attempted murder, extortion, kidnapping, contravention of the Explosives Act and arson, the Hawks and the police said in a joint statement on Monday.

The suspects were arrested by a multi-disciplinary team on Friday in and around Durban, said national Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi.

Various items were confiscated during their arrests, including a ready-made incendiary device.

Victim chained 'inside a dungeon'

"Members also managed to rescue a victim who was found chained and malnourished inside a dungeon in one of the houses. The victim is under police protection in one of the hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal," Mulaudzi said.

The Hawks did not provide any further information on the identity of the person or the circumstances around this particular incident.

In May this year, the Imam Hussain Mosque in Ottawa, Verulam, north of Durban, was attacked by three knife-wielding men.

Abbas Essop died during the attack, while Imam Ali Nchiyane and caretaker Mohammed Ali survived the attack on the mosque attended by Shia Muslims.

Azad Seedat, the mosque's chairperson, said the mosque's library had been petrol-bombed during the attack.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said government had deemed the incidents very serious and demanded a thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to book.

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