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Dirco: SA man detained in Mozambique innocent until proven guilty

Andre Hanekom has been detained in Mozambique for allegedly being a leader of an extremist group that intends to create an independent state in the country.

Andre Hanekom. Picture: Facebook/Francis Hanekom

JOHANNESBURG - The department of international relations and cooperation (Dirco) says Andre Mayer Hanekom is innocent until proven guilty.

The 60-year-old South African has been detained in Mozambique for allegedly being a leader of an extremist group that intends to create an independent state in the country.

Hanekom along with two Tanzanian nationals are facing several charges including murder, crimes against the state and inciting disobedience.

The businessman’s family has denied the allegations accusing the Mozambican government of framing him.

“We also want to make sure that Mr Hanekom gets a fair trial. Our contact in Mozambique is assisting him. When he was in hospital we assisted the family in locating him. So, in our eyes, he remains innocent until he’s found guilty in a court of law,” Dirco spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya.

At the same time, a terror expert has warned against calling him an extremist.
Dirco Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has called on local authorities to look into the terrorism-related charges against Hanekom.

Jasmine Opperman from Africa Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium is not convinced: “There’s simply no indication of extremism or a conviction to extremists. Providing arms intentionally to destabilise the region will serve no interest to him [Hanekom]. Could he have been unintentionally involved in dealings, that now he’s been traced back to some of his cell members? Yes, we’ll have to wait for the court to prove this.”

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