The US government warned Wednesday of a possible “terrorist” attack during the weekend in the financial hub of South Africa’s largest city Johannesburg.
It identified the potential target as Sandton, which is commonly referred to as the richest square mile on the African continent – an amalgamation of high-end shops and lofty business office towers and banks.
“The U.S. government has received information that terrorists may be planning to conduct an attack targeting large gatherings of people at an unspecified location in the greater Sandton area of Johannesburg,” the US embassy said on its website.
It said the attack could occur there on Saturday.
There was no immediate reaction from the South African authorities contacted by AFP.
Several alerts have been issued of possible and heightened imminent terrorist attacks on South Africa in past years, but none have materialised.
South African military are helping out neighbouring Mozambique fight an Islamist insurgency, where it has deployed more than 1,000 troops since July last year.
The embassy said it had no further information on the “timing, method, or target of the potential attack”, but advised its staff to “avoid crowds of people and other large public gatherings in the greater Sandton area during the weekend of 29 to 30 October 2022.
“We don’t have anything further to add than what is already in the alert,” David Feldmann, US Embassy in Pretoria spokesperson, told AFP.
Johannesburg’s annual gay pride extravaganza is scheduled to take place in the Sandton area on Saturday, the first in-person event after a two-year hiatus caused by the Covid pandemic restrictions.
After the 2016 alert issued by the US and Britain, the South African government reacted angrily to “attempts to generate perceptions of government ineptitude, alarmist impressions and public hysteria on the basis of a questionable single source”.
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