South Africa’s Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, also known as ‘Hawks’, has confirmed that a devise found at a mosque in the Kwa-Zulu Natal province on Sunday night is a bomb.
Kwa-Zulu Natal Hawks spokesman Simphiwe Mhlongo told local TV eNCA that they conducted a brief meeting with the explosive unit members, who confirmed to them that the mechanism of the device was an explosive “but they haven’t analyzed what chemicals it’s made of,” he said.
Worshippers and residents near the mosque were evacuated by police on Sunday night after the device was found in the mosque.
Police said the device tied to a small cell phone with wires covered in a white plastic was found under the chair of the imam.
The mosque where the device was found had been attacked last Thursday by unknown assailants, who stabbed three people, killing one and critically injuring the other two.
Police said the motive for the attack was unknown, but community activists said it might be sectarian violence as the mosque belongs to the Shia community.
Iqbal Jassat of Media Review Network, the Muslim advocacy group, said they were “shocked and outraged by the violent attack which displayed utter disregard for the sanctity of life and the sacredness of the mosque”.
South African Muslims, who comprise some two percent of the total population, which is 55 million, are known to be tolerant and these attacks are new in the community.
Some mosques have now beefed up security by hiring guards to protect worshippers ahead of Ramadan, the blessed month of fasting.