(AA) – A South African minister confirmed Monday that a 15-year-old girl had been removed from a plane in Cape Town on suspicion she was heading to join Daesh militant group.
“We had to take her out of the flight because of the suspected links of being tried to be recruited by the terrorist group called ISIS [Daesh],” State Security Minister David Mahlobo told ETV local television channel.
The young girl, whose identity was not divulged, reportedly disappeared from her parent’s home early Sunday and the intelligence was alerted to check ports of entry before she was found on the plane.
According to security officials, the teenager is reported to have told them she was going to join Daesh, which last year overran vast territories in both Syria and Iraq.
She had also reportedly been active on social media and read materials that showed she had interested in the militant group.
Mahlobo said authorities were still conducting further investigations to find out how the girl got recruited and who had arranged the funds for her travel out of the country.
In the past, there have been unconfirmed reports of South Africans reportedly joining Daesh.
Last year, Iraqi ambassador to Pretoria Hushaim al-Alawi told The Anadolu Agency in an interview that South Africans were reportedly being recruited to join Daesh.
Muslim leaders in South Africa could not be reached for comment on the report, but are expected to issue a statement.
On many occasions, Muslim authorities in the country have condemned the activities of Daesh and other militant groups.
South African Muslims, who make up about 2.5 percent of the country’s strong over 50 million population, are known to tow a very moderate and liberal line.