NEWS
23/02/2018 07:14 SAST | Updated 23/02/2018 08:04 SAST

Mystery Deepens In Search For SA Couple Believed Kidnapped By Isis

A Cape Town couple is believed to have been kidnapped by Isis.

Oleg Zabielin

A Cape Town couple has been abducted, possibly by terror group Isis, Times Select reported on Friday. The couple is believed to have moved here from the UK.

Local and anti-terrorism units from the police, along with hostage negotiators are reportedly on the case.

The couple was last seen at a bush lodge in KwaZulu-Natal. Their empty 4X4 was found in Waterloo north of Durban on Sunday night. Sources told Times Select that blood evidence was also discovered.

Two suspects, Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio, 38, and Fatima Patel, 27, were reportedly arrested and appeared in court in Vryheid on Monday on charges of terrorism, abduction and murder.

The details of how the pair met the missing Capetonians is still unclear, Times Select reported. But it is believed that the pair checked into the bush lodge three days after leaving Cape Town. An employee at the lodge reportedly said the couple stayed only one night.

They reportedly paid in cash and left in a hurry.

It is believed that a police hostage negotiator is the only one who knows where the couple is, and that no ransom demands have been made. It is unclear whether the couple is alive or dead.

The Hawks were unable to provide details.

Two days ago, the UK government issued a terror warning for travellers visiting South Africa, according to TimesLive.

The statement reportedly said, "Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in South Africa. Attacks could be indiscriminate‚ including in places visited by foreigners such as shopping areas in major cities.

"The main threat is from extremists linked to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL). In February 2018‚ two South African-British nationals were kidnapped."

"South African authorities have also been effective against right-wing extremists. There's a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against U.K. interests and British nationals‚ from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time."

Links between Isis and South Africa have been tenuous at best in the past, but there have been reports that Isis operatives are working in the country.

IOL reported last year that Isis fighters, originally from South Africa, were making their way home. Iraq's ambassador to South Africa, Saad Kindeel reportedly warned South African authorities to be on the lookout for them.

A counter-terrorism expert, Jasmine Opperman, told IOL at the time that there was active recruitment going on in the country.