Links to the Isis terrorist group and details of extortion plots, a manual with bomb making instructions and a training facility, dominated the bail application bid of the 11 men accused of the fatal bomb attack at the Imam Hussein Mosque in Ottawa and the placement of a spate of incendiary devices at retails stores in Durban, when they appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The chilling details were revealed in an affidavit by the Hawks investigating officer, Kwezi Chonco, who called for bail to be opposed in the high profile case which has dominated headlines after one suspect, Goolam Haffejee, was released on R100 000 bail and charges against seven others were provisionally withdrawn last week. According to Chonco some of the accused were positively identified via CCTV footage as linked to the fatal Imam Hussein Mosque bombing and the placement of explosive devices at retail stores and major shopping centres in Durban.
Chonco offered compelling information calling for the opposition of bail where he stated in an affidavit that the syndicate used the residence of one of the accused, Farhad Hoomer, as a training facility. The businessman has a house in Reservoir Hills and according to Chonco has been identified as the leader of the notorious group.
As per Chonco’s revelations, Hoomer’s cellphone was linked to the deadly mosque attack in Ottawa and similar devices like those used in the Verulam mosque bombing and such placed at the Woolworths stores were located at Hoomer’s house. Two vehicles allegedly used in the Gateway Woolworths and the Verulam Mosques attack were found to be registered to Hoomer.
It was further revealed that three victims in the extortion matter were linked to Hoomer. Three businessmen were targeted and $100, 000 (close to R1, 4m) was demanded from them with a threat to burn their businesses if they failed to pay. The cash was allegedly to be used to fund the terror group’s Isis-linked activities.
Chonco’s affidavit claimed that the group kidnapped a foreign national businessman and attempted to extort $100, 000 from him whilst they held him captive at Hoomer’s Reservoir Hills residence. The victim was found and rescued in a raid on the home by Hawks members.
Chonco cited that the men must remain in custody and their bail must be opposed as the charges against them are serious and their release on bail could impede investigations as more suspects are being sought in the case.
The 11 accused face a multitude of charges including, murder‚ attempted murder‚ arson‚ extortion and the violation of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorist and Related Activities Act.
The bail application bid was postponed to Thursday afternoon by Magistrate Irfaan Khalil.