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Isis-bound SA teen traced to her first class seat

A local teen was taken off a flight on Sunday after allegedly being recruited by the terrorist group.

FILE: The State Security Ministry is investigating exactly how a 15-year-old school girl was able to book, pay for and plan a trip to meet an Islamic State (Isis) recruiter. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - The State Security Ministry is investigating exactly how a 15-year-old school girl was able to book, pay for and plan a trip to meet an Islamic State (Isis) recruiter.

The Cape Town teen was taken off a British Airways plane bound for Johannesburg on Sunday afternoon, just moments before take-off, after evidence was found linking her to communication with the terrorist group.

The ministry said it was concerned that Isis had direct access to her at such a young age, and was investigating whether other children had been recruited.

The teenager was tracked all the way to her first class seat after she'd left her family home with her passport and cash in-hand.

The ministry is now trying to establish who she made an online payment to in the weeks leading up to leaving home this past weekend.

State Security's Brian Dube said agencies were asking all the right questions to establish the relevant facts.

"All of those issues are currently being investigated as we've indicated, and we'd like therefore to be provided with an opportunity to do that because indeed it's part of the question that we ourselves are asking."

The girl apparently went missing on Sunday morning and airport authorities were alerted.

Dube said they would make the findings of the investigation public after it's been completed.

_ LISTEN: SA terrorist researcher, Jasmine Opperman, talks Isis recruitment_ .

MINOR FLYING REGULATION

The Department of Home Affairs, meanwhile, said there was no regulation preventing a 15-year-old from booking and boarding a plane without a guardian.

The British Airways website regulations states minors between the ages of 12 and 18 could travel alone but have the option of using a service which monitors children throughout the journey.

The department's Mayihlome Tshwete said, "If the child looks old enough, it's too much on the shoulders of the airline to lose. Even if they do so efficiently, you can have loopholes in the system."

He said the department was also concerned that there were no regulated checks on people who claimed to be guardians.

The department added its new proposed amendments to immigration laws would tighten the transportation of minors.

As from 1 June, children under the age of 18 will have to present unabridged birth certificates and written permission from verified guardians before they board a plane.

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