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4 accused in South African mall terror plot appear in court

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Four persons linked to a far-right Christian group accused of plotting racially motivated terrorist attacks at malls in South Africa appeared in court on Monday.

Riana Heymans, Eric Abrams and Errol Abrams, appeared in the Middelburg Magistrate’s court in the eastern province of Mpumalanga, alongside Harry Johannes Knoesen, the self-proclaimed leader of the National Christian Resistance Movement, also known as the Crusaders.

“They were planning to bomb malls and other places on Black Friday,’’ Brig. Hangwani Mulaudzi, the spokesman for the Directorate of Priority Crime, said.

He said that the retail discount day meant “easy targets” for the group.

The four accused were arrested late last week after a two-year investigation.

The Police believed the group planned to attack strategic national locations, shopping malls and informal settlements, which are largely home to poor, black South Africans.

Police uncovered material to manufacture explosives, electronic devices, unlicensed firearms and ammunition during a number of raids.

The court will next hear the case on Jan. 21 and the accused were remanded in custody.

Mulaudzi does not expect them to be granted bail.

“That will never happen; they are in it for the long haul,’’ he said, adding that authorities cannot allow the country to regress.

Karin Mitchell, who wrote a book about one of South Africa’s most notorious white supremacist groups, the Boeremag, attended court.

She told broadcaster eNCA that she was “shocked” to learn that there was another “nationwide racist, supremacist” group, operating in South Africa.

“There must be an established network and a lot of people involved,’’ she said.

Edited & Vetted By: Fatima Sule/Abdulfatah Babatunde
(NAN)

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