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CPT community stunned by SA’s Isis-bound teen

The Kenwyn community is reeling in the wake of the near-recruitment of a teenager to Isis.

FILE: The Institute for Security Studies said claims that Isis tried to lure the girl to join its ranks do not necessarily mean the terror group is on a mission to establish a recruitment cell in South Africa. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - The Kenwyn community in Cape Town on Tuesday said it was still reeling in the wake of the alleged near-recruitment of a local teenager to the terrorist group Islamic State (Isis).

The 15-year-old girl was taken off a flight bound for Johannesburg on Sunday after it emerged she was going to meet a scout representing the group known as Isis, which has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and killings of scores of civilians.

The scout was to meet her in Johannesburg and travel with the teen to Saudi Arabia.

The close-knit southern suburbs community remained tight-lipped about reports of an Isis recruit in their midst.

The teenage daughter of a well-known doctor in the area is under investigation for alleged links to the international terrorist group.

Still visibly shocked at the news, one community member warns that people should not speculate about what happened and allow state security to probe the matter.

The family are reportedly still too traumatised to speak to the media and are currently being questioned by South African State Security.

PARENTS URGED TO MONITOR ONLINE ACTIVITIES

Meanwhile, parents have been urged to monitor their children's online activities after the girl was prevented from being recruited by the terrorist group.

Clinical psychologist Eddie Wolff said groups such as Isis would try to recruit young people because they were easy targets.

Wolff said children who had been radicalised would often withdraw from everyday life and reject any interaction.

"By the time you notice, the identification with the group which is radicalising her has probably already gone some way towards success. The person will not want to share, so it's hard work to deradicalise that person."

ISS QUELLS CONCERNS ABOUT ISIS RECRUITMENT IN SA

At the same time, The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said claims that Isis tried to lure the girl to join its ranks do not necessarily mean the terror group is on a mission to establish a recruitment cell in South Africa.

The ISS's Anton du Plessis said Isis had been strategic in extending their online reach around the world.

"These are not people who have strong religious views; they are just young people who don't belong or are unhappy."

He said South Africans had a history of being involved in terrorist exploits on the continent, but he believed this girl was joining the group in an act of wanting to belong to a cause.

The girl is currently in her parents' custody.

SSA INVESTIGATIONS AT 'SENSITIVE STAGE'

The State Security Agency (SSA) confirmed its investigations were at a sensitive stage and said it could not divulge any more details about what happened.

The State Security Ministry said it was probing her online activities including a payment to find any evidence of who may have asked the teen to join the cause.

The ministry's Brian Dube said he couldn't say anything on how the girl was tracked down.

"We don't want to compromise it by discussing various options."

Dube said the details of the operation that led to her being taken into custody would only be made public once the investigation was complete.

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