The SANDF will soon increase its presence in Cabo Delgado, with the deployment of additional troops. “Combat Team Alpha” will be sent, and it is made up of troops from the South African 2nd Infantry Battalion, and the 1st Parachute Battalion, with the express aim to “relieve and reinforce South African Special Forces in Mozambique”. Additional personnel carriers, between 60 and 80, are also to land in the region to assist the SAMIM efforts against the insurgents. The Fifth Special Forces Regiment, which has been on the ground since initial deployment in July 2021, will soon be relieved by fresh blood, in the form of the Fourth Special Forces Regiment, also from the Special Forces Group. The South African Navy is also looking to deploy a naval frigate to aid in the “interdiction patrols”, off the coast, which will be much welcomed, as that coastline has become a hive of activity for insurgents as well as traffickers and smugglers. Even though the national defense budget is in real terms smaller than what it needs to be, based on the Budget Speech 2022/2023, given by Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, the operational expenses of continued support in Cabo Delgado was highlighted- “the Department of Defense will continue to participate in operations to support peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo and northern Mozambique, as part of the SADC standby force. These deployments will also assist the Department in achieving 100% compliance with its SADC standby force pledge”, according to a statement by the National Treasury of South Africa.

In a not too surprising development, the US Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on individuals accused of aiding and abetting ISIS and AWAJ through financial assistance. Four of those individuals, located in South Africa, are accused of facilitating the transfer of funds from central ISIS to branches and members across Africa. “Treasury is taking this action to disrupt and expose key ISIS supporters who exploit South Africa’s financial system to facilitate funding for ISIS branches and networks across Africa”, says Under Secretary of Treasury Brian E Nelson. “The United States is working with our African Partners, including South Africa, to dismantle ISIS financial support networks on the continent.” The facilitators have been named as Farhad Hoomer, Siraaj Miller, Abdella Hussein Abadigga, and Peter Charles Mbaga.

Hoomer, between 2017 and 2018, assisted to organize and birth a local ISIS cell in Durban, South Africa, through the provision of some of his residential properties and vehicles. He was instrumental in recruiting and training ISIS cell members throughout South Africa. Kidnap for ransom, which has become increasingly popular in South Africa, was another income generating avenue for Hoomer and his ISIS affiliates, to the purported value of over R1 million. He was arrested in 2018, with some associates, on charges of involvement in a plan to plant bombs near mosques and other strategic buildings.

Miller, has apparently been involved in building the ISIS cells in Cape Town, as well as buying safe house properties.

Abadigga, an Ethiopian national, has been accused of recruiting men in South Africa and organizing their travel to training camps. He was in control of at least two local mosques, and used these as to extort money from members. The money was sent via Hawala (an informal money transfer system) to ISIS supporters across the continent.

Finally, Mbaga was also involved in transferring funds from South Africa.

Local intelligence services have been investigating these and other men for a number of years, particularly in light of the rise in Islamic fundamentalism and insurgency in Mozambique, but apart from Hoomers arrest, no results have been seen. There has also been very limited ISIS activity in South Africa itself, the most notable being the recent conviction of the Thulsie (Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee) on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism in February 2022, after a trial lasting 7 years. Even though this is the case, the most worrying is that South Africa is seen to be used as a money conduit for ISIS throughout Africa, and with the conflict in Mozambique, this is doubly worrying, because of the SANDF involvement in the SAMIM counter insurgency efforts in Cabo Delgado since 2021.

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