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Investigations continue into how SA girl almost joined Isis

State Security says there's evidence on the teen's social networks linking her to the terrorist group.

FILE. A Cape Town teenager was taken off a flight bound for Johannesburg at the weekend. Picture: SA Tourism.

JOHANNESBURG - As investigations continue into how a 15-year-old South African almost joined terrorist group, the Islamic State (Isis), the State Security Ministry has appealed to parents to monitor their children's online activity.

The Cape Town teenager was taken off a flight bound for Johannesburg at the weekend.

She was apparently meant to meet up with Isis recruiters.

The school girl is now in her parent's custody while officials from the State Security Ministry probe her online records.

The ministry says it's concerned that social media is being used to recruit young children and it's doing everything in its power to find any evidence of a recruitment cell.

State Security Minister David Mahlobo says the girl was taken into custody on Sunday afternoon after there was evidence on her social networks and in her bedroom that linked her to communication with Isis.

"It is the very same space where the terrorist organisation will try to radicalise these young people because they're vulnerable and can't make a sense of judgement on other issues."

Mahlobo says that while his ministry is constantly searching through international cyberspace for any evidence of terror threats or recruitment, he's concerned that recruiters have direct access to children.

The ministry has renewed calls for parents and community members to monitor and report any strange behaviour.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) says such organisations are becoming increasingly proficient in using social networks to recruit members.

The institute's Anton du Plessis says the school girl could have been deliberately targeted.

"What it does demonstrate, as we've seen from the recruitment of very young people in other countries, is that Isis is very strategic and clever in terms of how they target the youth and what I think we have here is a situation of an immature, very young person who obviously has some stuff going on in her life and is desperate to belong."

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