The United States has announced sanctions against four members of an Islamic State cell operating in South Africa and eight companies linked to the organisation.
In a statement on Tuesday, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the designated persons are members of an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) cell that provided technical, financial, or material support to the terrorist group.
“Treasury is targeting key individuals in ISIS’s network in South Africa as well as their business assets who have played pivotal roles in enabling terrorism and other criminal activities in the region,” said US Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson said.
The targeted individuals are alleged associates of ISIS cell leader Farhad Hoomer “who continues to pursue ISIS’s objectives in southern Africa and express the will and intent to attack the interests of the United States and its allies,” Nelson said.
They are Nufael Akbar, Yunus Mohamad Akbar, Mohamad Akbar and Umar Akbar.
Nufael and Yunus are senior members of an ISIS cell based in Durban, South Africa, which is led by Hoomer.
Nufael Akbar is an alleged central commanding figure in the Durban-based ISIS cell, while Yunus Akbar functions as an enforcer and logistical coordinator for the ISIS cell, according to Nelson.
Mohamad Akbar and Umar Akbar were arrested in 2018 by South African authorities along with Hoomer for their involvement in a plan to deploy improvised incendiary devices near a mosque and commercial retail buildings.
“Treasury also designated eight companies owned, controlled or directed by the individuals in this ISIS cell,” Nelson said.
These are MA Gold Traders, Bailey Holdings, Flexoseal Waterproofing Solutions, HJ Bannister Construction, Sultans Construction, Ashiq Jewellers, Ineos Trading and Shaahista Shoes.