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Tight security ahead of Durban 'bomb' suspects' court date

Explosives experts were called in to analyse a suspected 'bomb' at a mosque.
Explosives experts were called in to analyse a suspected 'bomb' at a mosque.

Police have thrown down a bulwark around the Verulam Magistrate’s court as part of a stringent security sweep ahead of the appearance of 19 men linked to a spate of bombings in Durban earlier this year.

The alleged gang are expected to appear in court on Monday afternoon facing charges of murder‚ attempted murder‚ extortion‚ kidnapping‚ contravention of the Explosives Act and arson.

Hawks spokesperson brigadier Simphiwe Mhlongo said that officers had closed the court while “security assessments” were underway.

The matter is to be heard in a special court so as not to disrupt the normal court roll.

Security personnel had barred the doors and police had been stationed around the building.

Police minister Bheki Cele said at a briefing on Friday that investigations had revealed that extortion was the motive behind the spate of bombings that rocked Durban and its surrounding areas between March and August.

Several incendiary devices - rudimentary in nature - were planted at Woolworth stores and food markets. Some were triggered and caused minor fires. A number of stores were temporarily closed following anonymous bomb threats.

The men are alleged to have links to an attack on the Imam Hussain mosque in Verulam in which a man was killed and two others were badly wounded in May.

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