Special to USAfrica and CLASSmagazine, Houston.
South Africa’s National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) on Sunday refuted media reports about a terror threat to next month’s the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
The move came after the Sunday Times in Johannesburg, the biggest Sunday newspaper in South Africa, carried an extensive story on the subject as their main item. It quoted experts as saying South Africa is vulnerable to some form of terrorist attack during the June 11 to July 11 tournament.
However, South Africa’s Natjoints said in a statement to the South African Press Association (SAPA)”The security forces can firmly state that there is no known specific terror threat against the 2010 FIFA World Cup.”
It “strongly disputed” the Sunday Times’s claim that South Africa had drawn up a watch-list of 40 terror suspects.
The newspaper said it had received two separate accounts of “at least one arrest linked to World Cup threats.”
The Sunday Times also said that “operational militant training camps” were set up in several provinces.
In response Natjoints said that the newspaper report was riddled with inaccuracies and most comments were from anonymous sources.
“Although the Natjoints is not prepared to discuss intelligence matters for obvious reasons, we can categorically deny the existence of a ‘watch-list of 40 terror suspects’ or the arrest of any person directly targeting the World Cup.
Natjoints also disputed the existence of operational militant training camps in several provinces in South Africa.
Earlier the Sunday Times had quoted among others, Frank van Rooyen, senior researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs.
“We are definitely vulnerable to suicide bombers and car bombs. All the signs are there that al-Qaeda is planning one of these attacks on the World Cup,” said Van Rooyen, who is also a former South African naval officer. ref: xinhua