Tuesday, September 22, 2009

U.S. Embassy in South Africa closed by threat

The United States Embassy in the Republic of South Africa, and the various consulates and offices throughout the country, have been temporarily closed due to "an unspecified security threat".
A State Department spokesman in Washington said the U.S. government was warning American citizens to be extra vigilant while near U.S. government facilities in South Africa.

"We are maintaining close contact with South African authorities on this issue," he said, adding that the facilities would reopen as soon as the security situation permits.

As well as the embassy, there are U.S. consulates in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. U.S. embassy spokeswoman Sharon Hudson-Dean said the current assumption was that the offices would reopen on Wednesday.
South African Police are considering whether the threat is real or a hoax, but are taking precautions.

There has been an ugly little undercurrent for a few years now of various terrorist operatives transiting or even temporarily remaining in South Africa. If this threat is real, and related to recent al-Qaeda-linked (al-Shabaab, in Somalia) matters, then this likely is an exploitation of that previously tried capability to operate in South Africa.

No comments: