Police probing possible links between Vereeniging bomb suspect and KZN explosives

Police are investigating whether a man arrested in connection with the discovery of a suspected homemade explosive device at a Vereeniging mosque last month is linked to the explosive devices found recently in Durban, the Hawks said on Thursday.

The 36-year-old suspect is facing charges of illegal possession of explosives.

The man, who is apparently not known to the community of the Vereeniging suburb of Roshnee, was arrested on July 31 after he was apprehended by security guards at the Masjid Taqwa mosque where he had attended a prayer service.

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He had left his bag at the mosque the previous day. When security officials opened it they allegedly discovered the suspected handmade explosive device.

"The man has not yet been linked to the attacks. Investigations are still continuing," Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told News24.

The man is expected to apply for bail at the Vereeniging Magistrate's Court on Thursday.

Attacks condemned

Several suspicious devices were found around Durban last month, most of them at large shopping centres.

Bomb-like devices had been found at Woolworths stores at The Pavilion shopping mall and at Gateway mall.

Two explosive devices were found under two separate vehicles in Berea, north of Durban.

Police are also investigating whether the man can be linked to the deadly mosque attack in Verulam, north of Durban, in May.

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An explosive device was found inside the mosque a few days after three men killed one person and injured two others during an attack at the mosque.

The attackers, who were also not known to the Verulam community, had asked to pray at the mosque before carrying out the attack.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Willies Mchunu condemned the placing of the devices in public places following the incidents in Durban.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the placing of bomb like devices in public places whose only intention can be to plant fear and insecurity among the citizens of KwaZulu-Natal," he said.