The South African government has announced that it had to stop a fifteen year old girl from travelling in a plane to join the militant Islamist group, The Islamic State. This was reported on Tuesday by the spokesperson for the State Security ministry David Mahlobo, who added that they were in the process of establishing if the militant group had established a recruitment network in South Africa.
According to the statement which was issued by the ministry, the girl, whose name was not released, was stopped on Sunday at the Cape Town International Airport before she could board a domestic flight to Johannesburg. The statement further stated that in Johannesburg, which is a business hub, the girl was supposedly going to catch another flight. It was not specified in the statement where she was destined. However, according to another local paper, the Star, the girl had been planning to fly to Turkey, where she was due to travel the last lag of her journey by road into Syria, where she would finally join the Islamic State.
The Ministry of State Security could only reveal that they had been tipped off after discovering that the girl had been in contact with Islamic State recruiters even though it was not clear how she had been recruited. All the information, the statement revealed, was found in a computer in her bedroom. The State Security ministry statement also revealed that the girl had been returned to her family after the members of her family had been questioned and debriefed.
Even though the department did not shed any further light on the matter, citing the fact that the investigations were still at an advanced stage, local media reported that the girl, whose mother is a medical doctor at a local surgery in Cape Town, had told her friends that she was going to join the militant group and, according to her relatives, she had, of late, become increasingly very political.
Many teenagers have travelled long distances from countries such as England, China, United States and Africa to join the militant group which they view as heroes. The reports indicated that most of the females join the group in order to marry the fighters. However, such views have been dampened by the likes of Briton Samantha Lewthwaite, dubbed the “White Widow”, who has held her own as a terrorist. She is on the wanted list of the Kenyan Police after the 2013 terror attack on the Eastgate Mall.