The court appearance of 19 people with alleged links to the Verulam mosque attack and a spate of arson attacks in recent months took place behind closed doors in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The gang were arrested in a series of raids orchestrated by members of the Hawks’ Crimes Against the State Unit at the weekend.
Police had earlier thrown a bulwark around the court precinct as part of a stringent security measures ahead of their appearance.
Hawks spokesman Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said that the appearance was brief and had to be adjourned until Tuesday as some of the accused required an interpreter.
He said the matter would be held in camera – with a closed public gallery – until identification parades could be conducted.
As such‚ the media and public have been barred from attending court proceedings.
Last week‚ police minister Bheki Cele said investigations had revealed that extortion was the motive behind the spate of bombings that rocked Durban and its surrounding areas between March and August.
Several incendiary devices – rudimentary in nature – were planted at Woolworths stores and food markets. Some were triggered and caused minor fires. A number of stores were temporarily closed following anonymous bomb threats.
They are alleged to have links to an attack on the Imam Hussain Mosque in Verulam in which a man was killed and two others were badly wounded in May.