Explainer: Why the Hawks sent the CATS to deal with the Durban bomb situation

Explainer: Why the Hawks sent the CATS to deal with the Durban bomb situation

- The Hawks have sent in the specialised Crimes Against The State (CATS) unit to investigate the spate of bombs found in shops across the city

- At least five and possibly six bombs have been found at various shops and public spaces in the city since last Thursday

- Sources close to the matter have revealed that arrests are imminent

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The Hawks has sent in its specialised Crimes Against The State (CATS) unit to investigate the spate of bombs found in shops and public spaces in and around Durban recently. The CATS unit has been deployed in an attempt to identify and arrest those responsible for planting bombs throughout the city.

The CATS unit usually deals with high-profile matters which present a threat to either the state or the national interest. Most recently the unit investigated the deadly attack on a Verulam mosque.

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The Hawks did not comment on whether there was a connection between the mosque attack and the current investigation.

Briefly.co.za gathered that the at least five and possibly six bombs have been found at shops and public spaces in and around Durban since last week.

It looks like the bombers are targeting large crowds of people who gather in shopping –centres and social events.

Last Thursday, two explosive devices were discovered in Durban’s two biggest shopping-centres, Gateway Theatre of Shopping and The Pavilion. Both of the devices were found in the Woolworths stores.

On Saturday a second device was located in Woolworths at Gateway.

The Durban July event was targeted by two devices. The event is regarded as the biggest horse racing and fashion event in the country and is seen as one of the social highlights of the year.

SowetanLive.co.za reported that since taking charge of the investigation the CATS unit have made significant progress and a well-placed source revealed that arrests were imminent.

The unit has not commented on who might be responsible for the bombs, but experts from various fields have opined about the matter.

The fact that the bombers have not detonated the devices during peak times (and thus far) has not taken any lives means the bombers are trying to send a message. This is the opinion of Ryan Cummings, a security risk analyst.

He said the problem was that authorities did not yet have a clear understanding of what message the bombers were trying to send. Cummings said it might be a personal gripe being made public.

Cummings said the chances of the bombs being the work of extremists was very low.

Africa director for the Terrorism, Research and Analysis Consortium, Jasmine Opperman said the devices looked basic and could possibly have been assembled using nothing more than an instructional video found on the internet.

Opperman said while Durban had been targeted by extremists before, those cases involved far more complex and professionally assembled bombs.

The Hawks warned the public not to send out hoax messages about bombs or explosive devices. Vish Naidoo, a police spokesperson, said it was an extremely serious offence and offenders would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

READ ALSO: Mmusi Maimane: South Africans can’t afford to live with ANC’s financial mismanagement

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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