A South African girl, 15, was on Sunday withdrawn from a flight moments before attempting to leave the country to join the Islamic State jihadists, state security said.
According to The Star: “We can confirm that she was planning to leave the country with the intention of joining IS and had been actively engaged with social media networks.”
The girl, who was reported missing by her grandparents on Sunday morning when she disappeared from her Cape Town home, was found on a British Airways flight bound for Johannesburg later that day.
She was reportedly heading for Turkey, where she was allegedly planning to cross the border into Syria.
According to local reports, investigators found evidence in the girl’s room linking her to recruiters for IS, jihadists who have captured swathes of Syria and Iraq and who have attracted hundreds of foreign fighters.
“An investigation is under way as to how far this network goes, whether there is a cell in the country, and what the methods of recruiting and funding are,” Mahlobo told The Star.
“We cannot allow South Africa to be used as a recruitment space.”
The girl was released into the care of her family after being questioned.