Abbas Essop, 35, died in the Albert Luthuli Hospital after his throat was slit in the attack. Two other people, Maulana Ali Nchinyane and security guard Muhammad Ali were severely stabbed by three unknown assailants.
In Sunday night’s incident worshippers concluding their evening prayers noticed a device under the maulana’s chair inside the mosque. A section of the mosque was also set alight on Thursday during the knife attack.
No arrests were made as the Hawks have taken over the investigation into the attack. Police minister Bheki Cele visited the Essop home on Sunday afternoon saying that the mosque attack would be thoroughly investigated and that the perpetrators of the crime would be dealt with.
The bomb was found a few hours after Cele’s visit to the area. Reaction Unit South Africa was quickly alerted and the area around the mosque’s vicinity was evacuated and cordoned off by the police. The explosive device was removed by the bomb squad.
Meanwhile, worshippers at the mosque say that they were no longer safe and fear going to the venue for their prayers.
Imam Hussain Mosque chairperson and co-founder, Azaad Seedat, told the Tongaat and Verulam Tabloid that he could not comment further on the attack as the matter was under investigation. However, he did make a comment on TV saying that the attackers had an ‘ISIS mentality’.
“We can’t say too much now, but we are following safety measures to keep everyone safe from these attacks,” he said.
The security guard Ali said that the three men who attacked them appeared to be coming to the mosque to pray and he allowed them in.
As the attack unfolded Essop, a mechanic by profession whose workshop is situated across the road from the mosque, responded to screams and fell victim to the attack.
His brother Farouq described him as a ‘very kind and humble person who would do anything to help those in need’. He leaves behind a wife and two children aged two and five. Essop said that since the incident, security was ‘beefed up’ at the family home.
The South African Muslim Network, along with several other organisations and the Cape Town-based Muslim Juicial Council (MJC) condemned the terror attack. Samnet chairperson Dr Faisal Suliman while the motive for the attack remains unknow, he appeals to the media and community not to speculate about the attack as it ‘may not be necessarily religious nor political’.
The MJC strongly condemned the attack. They said in a statement that the core teaching of Islam was respect for all human beings. “We remind South Africans that the makeup of our society is one of religious, cultural and ethnic diversity and tolerance. We call on all communities to remain law-abiding citizens and refrain from any and all forms of vigilantism.”
Hawks spokesman Captain Simphiwe Mhlongo described the act as ‘elements of extremism’. He said that no arrests have as yet been made.