The Infamous Jihadi John who after a long period of speculation, was identified as Mohammed Emwazi, the Islamic State be-header, was arrested in 2009 while trying to board a flight to Johannesburg from Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
According to the British media, Emwazi was arrested as he tried to force his way past a security checkpoint onto a flight that was bound for Johannesburg without a passport.
Jihadi John has beheaded several Islamic State hostages over the past year and he is known chiefly for being very ruthless and taking immense pleasure in inflicting pain on those who were seen or regarded as enemies of Islam or the Islamic state.
It was reported that at the time he was arrested at the Tanzanian airport in 2009, he was in the company of two members of the Somalia-based Islamic terrorist organisation Al-Shabab- Bilal Berjawi and Mohamed Sakr.
When they were apprehended, the three claimed that they were on a safari holiday, a lie which the Tanzanian authorities did not believe. The Tanzanian security services believed they were planning to travel to terrorist camps in Somalia. However, it is still not very clear why he had wanted to come to Johannesburg
Considering the fact that South Africa has been a destination for terrorists in the past, the most notorious of whom is the “White Widow”, Samantha Lewthwaite, who traveled to this country in 2007 and fraudulently acquired a South African passport, it did not come as a complete shock rather, it makes one wonder the agenda he had that made him want to come to Johannesburg.
But, according to security experts, terrorists prefer South African passports because they are easy to obtain from corrupt officials who only need you throw a wad of cash at them and they would get you one. This equally implies that a lot of all the other terrorist activities recorded in the past could have been avoided if South African officials had been up to the mark in discharging their duties without fear or favor rather than making their individual pockets a bigger priority than the safety of the country.
To further prove how much South Africa has become an attraction to terrorists, the leader of the infamous Al-Shabab, Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, who was responsible for the US embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998, was found to be carrying a South African passport when he was shot dead at a police checkpoint four years ago.
Now with the recent release of the contents of the spy cables last week by Al Jazeera, which revealed the number of bombings that Al Qaeda had planned for South Africa between 2007 and 2010, one would say it is high time more security measures be taken to ensure that these unscrupulous elements don’t gain entrance into the country or get the chance to destroy the peace that the founding fathers of gave their lives for.