'All countries in Africa are vulnerable to terror attacks'

State Security says every South African citizen must be vigilant & report any suspicious behaviour.

Malian troops take position outside the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on 20 November, 2015. Gunmen went on a shooting rampage at the luxury hotel in Mali's capital Bamako, seizing 170 guests and staff in an ongoing hostage-taking that has left at least three people dead. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The State Security Department says the attack on a hotel in Mali's capital, Bamako, shows that countries around the continent are vulnerable to extremist attacks.

Heavily armed gunmen from an al-Qaeda affiliated group, using a car with diplomatic plates, gained access to the Radisson Blu Hotel on Friday, going from room to room, killing guests.

As Malian security forces search for those responsible, Cameroon was hit by four suicide bombers at the weekend, killing at least six people.

Malian security forces evacuate two women from an area surrounding the Radisson Blu hotel in Bamako on 20 November, 2015. Picture: AFP.

The department says that while there is no imminent threat to South Africa from extremist groups, it remains vigilant, monitoring any possible problem that could threaten security.

Spokesperson Brian Dube says African countries continue to share intelligence.

"We are dealing with a global phenomenon here and all of us on the continent in particular must continue to work together to ensure that we share intelligence and information and bring a stop to extremist attacks."

He says security agencies are monitoring online activity closely as extremist groups like the Islamic State are known to recruit young people in cyber space.

"We call on all of those who are active on these platforms to be vigilant."

Earlier this year, a 15-year-old girl was removed from a plane in Cape Town after claims she'd been recruited by the terror group online.

LISTEN: SA terrorist researcher, Jasmine Opperman, talks Isis recruitment.

The department says every South African citizen must be vigilant and report suspicious behaviour.

Dube says all sectors of the country should remain vigilant.

"Our collective strength is when we work together as a community. Therefore, we do call upon society and various leaders in faith based organisations to work with us as government to ensure that we create conditions of safety and to make sure we continue to be vigilant."

The department says the attack on the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali shows that countries around the continent are vulnerable.