Terror accused twin communicated with ISIS, court told

Johannesburg – Terrorism-accused twin Tony-Lee Thulsie allegedly asked a senior Islamic State (ISIS) member for permission to carry out an attack in South Africa, the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court heard on Monday.

The brother, using the alias Simba, had identified targets, investigating officer Warrant Officer Wynand Olivier told the court.

Tony-Lee and Brandon-Lee Thulsie were trying to have their arrests declared unlawful, saying no arrest warrant was shown to them.

Olivier said he had monitored the accused on Facebook and other social media platforms once he became suspicious of their possible involvement in terrorism.

He alleged the twins made numerous posts on various Facebook accounts, pledging their support for ISIS. 

"The first communication was from a person called Simba communicating with a high-ranking Isil (ISIS) person, asking for permission to conduct a terror attack in South Africa," Olivier told the court.

It became clear later that Simba was building an explosive device and looking for a trigger mechanism, he said.

The information emerged between November 2015 and June 2016. He then for search warrants. One was for the house where the twins were believed to be staying, while another was for someone called Renaldo Smith.

While executing the search warrant at Smith's home, he asked Smith about his involvement and who Simba was. Smith allegedly said Tony-Lee was Simba.

"Smith said he wanted to get out of that life and that he doesn't support that type of thinking anymore," Olivier told the court.

Olivier said Smith tried to talk Tony-Lee out of committing an attack.

Based on that information, Olivier and officers at Tony-Lee's house decided to arrest the twins, despite not having an arrest warrant.

Olivier said, while carrying out the search warrant, a handwritten note, allegedly belonging to Brandon-Lee, was found. It contained details on how to join ISIS and how to enter Turkey and get into Syria.

They found the index of a book, allegedly belonging to Tony-Lee, on bomb making and carrying out attacks.

Earlier, Olivier told the court that the twins, Smith, and a fourth person, had tried to leave South Africa via Mozambique for Syria in July 2015. They were flagged at the border and an alert was issued.

Family members of the twins were present in court. The twins both wore glasses and were neatly dressed.


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