Organisation/s: Al-Qaeda (suspected)
Nationality/ies: South African
Travel History: Pakistan
Skills/Education/Occupation: Ganchi: doctor; Ismail: student
Ganchi and Ismail were discovered with Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani in July 2004 during a raid in Pakistan less than a week after another South African Farida Goolam Mohamed Ahmed, was detained in the United States (US) on suspicion having links with Al-Qaeda. According to a Pakistani police chief at the time, Raja Munawar Hussain, the pair were highly trained terrorists found with maps, arms, explosives, and laptop computers indicating plans to target various sites across South Africa, including the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the US embassy in Pretoria and the Parliament building in Cape Town.
In August 2004, former President Thabo Mbeki’s cabinet issued a statement on Ganchi and Ismail’s arrest, condemning the allegations of their links to Al-Qaeda and alleged plans to instigate acts of terror in South Africa, stating:
“On media reports pertaining to South Africa being targeted for acts of terrorism by the individuals arrested in Pakistan, government wishes to express its outrage at the manner in which these matters have been aired, without any credible substantiation from security agencies in our country and in Pakistan. We call on the media to exercise restraint in dealing with these matters, by ensuring that reports on these issues are based on fact, and do not lead to unwarranted alarm among the public.”
Ganchi and Ismail arrived in South Africa in December 2004, where they were taken into custody, questioned and released.