A fourth man has been questioned in connection with the kidnapping of Britons Rod and Rachel Saunders.
The man was detained on Monday night and later released.
Meanwhile‚ Hawks spokesman Captain Lloyd Ramovha said that a 19-year-old man was arrested is expected to appear in the Verulam Magistrate’s court on Wednesday. The youngster was arrested in Ndlovini‚ near Eshowe‚ in a raid conducted by members of the Hawks as well as multi-national intelligence agencies also on Monday night.
The latest developments follow nearly 10 days after Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio‚[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]38‚ and Fatima Patel‚[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]27‚ were detained during a covert operation in Vryheid. The pair remains at the centre of the high-level probe‚ facing charges related to terrorism‚ abduction and possibly murder.
The Saunders’‚ prominent botanists‚ were abducted near Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal nearly two weeks ago and have been missing since. Patel and Del Vecchio stand accused of blowing over R700[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]000 on credit cards stolen from the elderly Britons. Jewellery‚ electronics and camping gear were on their shopping list.
The pair is alleged to have hopped from mall to mall along the coast‚ amassing a cache which was discovered in a remote hideaway on the fringes of a secluded nature reserve near Eshowe.
It was there on a hilltop‚ with an ISIS flag flying‚ that Patel and Del Vecchio were tracked down. Days earlier the couple‚ who are local and international experts in seedlings and indigenous plants‚ visited the Drakensburg with a BBC film crew.
The official police charge sheet‚ obtained by TimesLIVE‚ reveals the allegations against the pair.
According to the papers‚ both Patel and Del Vecchio are alleged to have contravened the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorists and Related Activities Act by hoisting an ISIS flag at Ndlovini Reserve.
Del Vecchio faces a second count‚ for his involvement in “extremist” web forums.
He is “connected with terrorist activities by participating in extremist web forums that support ISIS and offering to supply phone numbers and sim cards that are not traceable”‚ the charge sheet reads.
The pair have also been charged with kidnapping‚ robbery‚ theft relating the disappearance of the Britons.
The kidnapping prompted the British government to post a travel advisory‚ detailing the threat of terror attacks on foreign interests in South Africa.
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