U.S. interests in South Africa, including U.S. government facilities and other establishments associated with U.S. business interests, may be targets of terrorist activity, the U.S. Diplomatic Mission to South Africa has warned. “There is no additional information as to timing or potential targeting,” the warning said.
According to a report from AFP, the warning is particularly alarming because the U.S. had last issued a terror threat warning in South Africa in 2009, as per security analyst Ryan Cummings. “One would not immediately associate South Africa with Islamic extremism, which is the driver of international terrorism against US interests,” Cummings told AFP.
“We haven’t had an extensive history of transnational terrorists targeting US interests, (but) there has been evidence that South Africa serves as some form of a gateway or potential logistics and financial hub. The fact that this warning speaks specifically to South Africa means the perceived threat is specifically within our borders,” Cummings explained further.
Embassy spokesperson Cindy Harvey meanwhile confirmed that the embassy had received “specific, credible, non-counterable threat information,” ENCA reported. Harvey refused to give further details except saying that the State Department is prioritizing the protection of U.S. citizens overseas.
“Security Messages do not reflect the nature of our bilateral relations with a country. They are part of our commitment to protect US citizens travelling and residing abroad. The US government, as it does in any investigation into terrorist threats against American interests around the world, will cooperate with South African authorities,” Harvey said.