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UK Embassy Issues Terrorism Alert for South Africa Amidst Controversy

Neelam Rahim |

3-minute read
21 April 2024 | 10:43 CAT


The United Kingdom (UK) embassy has issued a ‘terrorism alert’ for citizens travelling to South Africa. However, Pretoria says the foreign country needs to provide credible proof for the warning.

Posting a notice to its official website, the UK embassy warned, “terrorists are very likely to try to carry out attacks in South Africa”.

The embassy noted that the current conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories has led to heightened tensions around the world.

The advisory on the website of the British High Commission in Pretoria adds that: “The main threat is from individuals who may have been inspired by terrorist groups, including Daesh, and who may carry out ‘lone actor’ attacks.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate and could target public spaces and places visited by foreigners, such as: tourist sites; shopping centres; high-profile events; crowded places.”

According to terrorism expert Willem Els at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), these alerts originate from intelligence reports, which should then be communicated and discussed with the relevant authorities of both countries.

Following consultations, both parties then have the autonomy to decide whether it’s credible enough to issue an alert, which the UK decided it was in this case.

Els agreed that the UK terror alert was directed only at warning its citizens and not at Pretoria.

Els emphasised that the individuals and intelligence agencies responsible for issuing these warnings assess various factors, including crime rates, political stability, natural disasters, and terrorism threats, to gauge a destination’s safety.

However, given the current geopolitical climate, some South Africans perceive the terrorism alert as a diplomatic jab from the UK, especially considering the contrasting political stances on ongoing conflicts in Russia and Palestine.

This alert issued by the UK seems to be similar to the various Western embassy warnings issued last year following the US alert in October 2022 that terrorist attacks might take place in Sandton.

The South African government acknowledged the US alert but said there was no information pointing to evidence of a credible threat.

Meanwhile, Els highlighted that while terrorism is a concern, the country faces a more significant threat from violent crime.

Besides, have they taken a peek at our crime stats? Potential terrorists should be warned and reconsider a visit to South Africa.

Listen to the full interview on The Daily Round Up with Moulana Junaid Kharsany.


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