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Moulana targeted by 'bomb' in Verulam mosque

Moulana targeted by 'bomb' in Verulam mosque.
Moulana targeted by 'bomb' in Verulam mosque.

An “improvised explosive device”‚ which forced the evacuation of the Imam Hussain Mosque in Verulam‚ north of Durban‚ on Sunday night‚ had been placed beneath the moulana‘s chair.

This was revealed as bomb technicians cautiously examined the “bomb” - a white PVC pipe affixed to a cell phone with wires.

It is understood that a group of worshipers had concluded their prayers and had noticed the device on the pulpit.

The find came just hours after Police Minister Bheki Cele had visited the site after the fatal knife attack on Thursday. The mosque and houses around were evacuated in the wake of the discovery.

Mosque chairman and co-founder Azaad Seedat told TimesLIVE that those preparing the mosque for evening prayer found the device.

“We can’t say too much now but the guys were getting the place ready‚ partitioning off the damaged sections of the place that were burnt... and they found the bomb near the pulpit.

“We just got everyone out of the building. All the houses surrounding the mosque have been evacuated‚” he added.

This comes after a fatal knife attack at the same mosque four days ago. 

Abbas Essop‚ a mechanic‚ had charged headlong into the Imam Hussain Mosque in the small town‚ north of Durban‚ after three knife-wielding men stormed the building after midday prayers.

The caretaker and muzzein (the man tasked with leading the call to prayer)‚ Muhammad Ali‚ had noticed the men at the gate and thinking they were coming to pray‚ let them inside.

Once in the property‚ the men attacked Ali and Moulana Ali Nchiyane with knives before torching the mosque's library.

Essop - whose mouth was duct-taped and his throat slit - died in hospital.

He became a collateral casualty in the attack‚ believed to be motivated by “extremist elements” intent on killing the resident moulana and razing the building to the ground.

Moulana Aftab Haider‚ the national coordinator of the Ahlul Bait Foundation of South Africa‚ had earlier said there was no doubt that the knife attack had been orchestrated by “terrorists”.

“This is a terrorist crime. It is an attack on the sanctity of a place of worship and‚ furthermore‚ it is the indiscriminate killing of innocent people purely based upon their religious beliefs. This has all the hallmarks of the Isis style of operation in Iraq and Syria‚” he said.

He would not be drawn to comment on Sunday night.

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