Bomb-like device found in Verulam mosque

Moulana Ali Nchinyane

"The bomb disposal unit is at the crime scene, they are going to tell us whether it is an explosive device or what kind of device it is", elite police unit spokesman Simple Mhlongo told AFP.

On Sunday private security responded to a call from worshippers who saw the suspicious device moments before they were to conduct evening prayers.

"They [explosives unit members] confirmed that the mechanism was explosive".

In an operation which lasted several hours‚ explosives experts carefully examined the pipe bomb - a length of PVC tubing and a cellphone affixed by wires - before making it inert and transporting it away from the site.

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It had been moved outside of the building and x-rayed by technicians using specialised equipment.

Worshippers went ahead with Friday prayers in a house next to the mosque.

The find came just hours after Police Minister Bheki Cele had visited the site after the fatal knife attack on Thursday.

Repeated efforts to contact Mhlongo failed at the time of publishing.

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The device was discovered yesterday (May 13) three days after the attack at the mosque by three men armed with guns and knives. They proceeded to stab moulana Ali Nchinyane and Muhammad Ali.

Mechanic Abbas Mohamedelo Essop died after his throat was cut in the May 10 attack on the mosque in Verulam, about 20 miles north of Durban.

He became a collateral casualty in the attack‚ believed to be motivated by "extremist elements" intent on killing the resident moulana and razing the building to the ground.

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