An elderly British couple have been kidnapped in South Africa, with some suggestions of a link to radical Islamic terrorism.
Expatriates based in Cape Town, the victims are a British-born 74-year-old man and his South African-born wife, who is 63. They were kidnapped in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province in or near the small town of Vryheid, a popular tourist spot, The Guardian reports.
“We have updated our travel advice to include this recent incident,” commented Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
“Our travel advice already states that terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in South Africa. This remains our assessment.”
An ‘elite’ local police team known as ‘The Hawks’ has named Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio, 38, and Mrs. Fatima Patel, 27, as suspects in the case, according to The Telegraph.
The pair is already facing charges for arson, kidnapping, and robbery, as well offences falling under anti-terrorism legislation, in connection with crimes carried out last year. Patel’s brother Ebrahim was detained by the authorities following counter-terror raids in 2016.
“Outright Act of Terror” – South Africa's mainly white farmers protest wave of murders; 2017 death toll hits 74 https://t.co/zyk1g1zzxK
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) October 31, 2017
“The couple are still missing at this stage. No ransom has been demanded,” said a Hawks spokesman, who revealed their car had been recovered and was undergoing forensic tests.
He added that their “investigation so far has not revealed any links to terrorists, let alone [the Islamic State] … Besides that, South Africa has measures to counter terrorist threats. We are more than ready to deal with such.”
It should be noted that the South African police force under the Marxist-leaning African National Congress (ANC) is often accused of being ineffective.
For example, the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) pointed out that fewer than 30 per cent of murder cases in South Africa were solved in 2013/14, and the country’s predominantly white farmers — who have a higher mortality rate than any group in the world outside an active war zone, according to some measures — frequently protest that they are left to fend for themselves.