27/02/2018 06:29 SAST | Updated 27/02/2018 06:29 SAST

Third Suspect Arrested In Missing Couple Terrorism Case

A man has reportedly been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a couple, allegedly at the hands of an Isis-linked cell.

Danish Siddiqui / Reuters
Members of the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) forces look at the positions of Islamic State militants during clashes in western Mosul, Iraq, May 15, 2017.

A third suspect has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of a Cape Town couple, who are thought to have been abducted by Isis, TimesLive reported.

The man is reportedly going to appear in court in the Mtunzini Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

The couple reportedly went missing while visiting a game lodge near Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal about two weeks ago and are thought to have been abducted by an Isis-linked terror cell. A couple, who have reportedly been under surveillance by the Hawks for some time, were arrested shortly thereafter.

Sayfydeen Aslam Del Vecchio and Fatima Patel have reportedly been charged with terrorism, abduction and possibly murder.

Last week, Times Select reported that local and international terrorism investigators were now on the case, including a hostage negotiator. The identities of the couple, who are believed to be Britons who emigrated to SA, have not been revealed.

It is also not clear whether the couple are alive or dead, and that their whereabouts were only known to the hostage negotiator.

Shortly after their disappearance, the UK government issued a terror warning for visitors travelling to South Africa.

"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 [Isis]. In February 2018‚ two South African-British nationals were kidnapped," the statement said.

The Northern Natal Courier reported that the suspects are also accused of setting alight several hectares of canefields in 2017 worth R2-million at the Tongaat-Hulett plantations. They appeared briefly in court last week and will appear again on March 1 for a formal bail application.

The Hawks have so far denied that the suspects are linked to any terror organisations, despite TimesLive's reporting.

According to Eyewitness News (EWN), the Hawks' Lloyd Ramovha said that although they face terrorism charges, the case is not currently linked to any terrorist organisations.

"At this stage as far as ongoing investigations there haven't been any links to terrorist organisations or extremists. We have no links [of that nature] at this stage," he reportedly said.