The Media Review Network (MRN) welcomes the result of the probe by the Crime Intelligence Unit and the Organised Crime Unit of the South African Police Services (S.A.P.S) in which they deny any link between Al Qaeda and the robbery that took place at Velmore Hotel outside Erasmia, near Pretoria.

The MRN challenged the speculative nature of the article by Graeme Hosken and wrote to the Pretoria News about our concerns. We now feel vindicated that the S.A.P.S Crime Intelligence Unit as well as the Organised Crime Unit, after thorough investigation have refuted the contents of Graeme Hosken’s report.

National Police spokeswoman, Brigadier Sally De Beer said: “The S.A.P.S is satisfied that, contrary to certain media reports, a suspect involved in a shoot-out with police members during which a sergeant was wounded on 20 December 2010 near the Velmore Hotel, has no links with the group known as Al Qaeda.”

She further went on to say that: “Although the journalist could have picked up speculation on the scene of the crime, the S.A.P.S is of the opinion that it was irresponsible to make such wide-ranging claims, which has already attracted international attention, without any confirmation whatsoever.”

In view of the above, the Media Review Network demands an unequivocal apology from the Pretoria News and the reporter, Graeme Hosken, for the such reckless and negligent reporting which has also aroused negative international attention toward South Africa, by linking Al Qaeda to armed robberies here.

Ibrahim Vawda

Senior Researcher,

Media Review Network

Tell: 012 374 6987