Why did Al-Qaeda mastermind have SA passport? - DA

Annette Lovemore calls on Minister of Home Affairs to investigate

Minister should investigate Home Affairs' possible terrorism link

The Democratic Alliance (DA) calls on the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to investigate the possible connection between the fraudulent procurement of South African passports from the Department Home Affairs, and international terrorism.

Recent reports suggest that Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, a key figure in al-Qaeda's East Africa operations and alleged mastermind of the 1998 US Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, who was killed in a shoot-out in Somalia last week, was found to be in possession of a South African passport. Passport and ID fraud continues to pervade the Department of Home Affairs, and it is of deep concern that the failings of this department may be helping to facilitate international terrorist activity.

This is not the first time that a terror suspect has been found to be in possession of a South African passport. In 2004, a Tunisian al-Qaeda suspect, Ihsan Garnaoui, told German investigators that he had a number of South African passports.

British-born Haroon Rashid Aswat, supposed ringleader of the 2005 London bus bombings, lived in South Africa and travelled to the United Kingdom on a South African passport. In 2006, Mohammed Gulzar entered Britain with a fake South African passport under the name Altaf Ravat, allegedly with the intent of blowing up transatlantic airliners in mid-flight.

The DA urges Minister Dlamini-Zuma to investigate this matter urgently so as to determine whether Mr Mohammed's passport was bona fide, and, if so, how he came to obtain it and what steps the department plans to take to effectively tackle fraud of this nature.

Statement issued by Annette Lovemore MP, DA Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, June 13 2011

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