Information from a state witness and items found at the home of one of the twin brothers who are facing terrorism-related charges in Johannesburg led to their arrests, a Hawks detective testified on Monday.
Wynand Olivier, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks) lead detective on the case, was in the stand in the Johannesburg Magistrates’ Court and testified against Tony-Lee and Brandon-Lee Thulsie.
Wynand said a family member notified an airline that the 23-year-old twins and others were planning to go to Syria in April last year.
“We didn’t immediately start investigating the twins because there wasn’t a threat at that stage…but it is well known that those travelling to Syria can do so via Turkey to join ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant].”
He said in November 2015 they started doing background checks on the twins, which also included monitoring their social media accounts which they had opened and later closed.
Olivier said state witness Renaldo Smith (also known as Arashad Smith) had an ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) flag as his profile picture and he read to the court posts in which Smith praised jihadists.
Olivier said after the posts, he started looking into the background of the twins on the basis of their connections to ISIS.
“I was convinced that the twins were supporting the ISIS from the evidence we obtained from other agencies.”
The Hawks detective said that they also received information that Simba, who was later identified as Tony-Lee Thulsie, was building a bomb and also looking for a trigger mechanism.
He also said the Hawks obtained a statement from Smith on the day of the raid on one of the twins’ homes. He said Smith had requested to be placed in witness protection for his own safety.
– African News Agency (ANA)