JOHANNESBURG -- A 24-year-old Indian-origin South African Muslim man has been reportedly killed in Syria where he had gone to join a militant group.
Sadiq Vawda, the son of renowned South African Indian advocate and Islamic scholar Mufti Emran Vawda, had left for Syria along with his brother in November 2015.
Intelligence sources confirmed that the men left to join Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda-aligned rebel group in Syria fighting against the Islamic State, Independent Online South Africa said.
Following the disclosure of his death, many on the social media shared a letter from Vawda in which he detailed the battles he was involved in as part of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, in the Syrian town of Aleppo.
"I am here in the blessed land of al Sham and I would like to pen down a few words for those back home in South Africa about the current situation we are witnessing here and my personal experiences in Syria and Aleppo city in particular. Many people are confused as to what is truthfully taking place here and in this short letter I would like to relate the truth so that you all understand the situation," Vawda wrote as he urged South African Muslims to join the battle.
Although the family declined to comment, a close family friend said the father was unaware of his sons' intentions to join the rebel group.
Ahmed Paruk of the Islamic Burial Council told The Post that the family was "traumatised".
"The information provided to them is very vague at this stage. They have been liaising with the relevant authorities and cannot seem to get the answers they're looking for. Syria is such a war-torn country so getting information from there is sometimes impossible.
"The boys left without telling their parents anything so nobody knows what their intentions were," Paruk said.
It was still unclear how the news of Vawda's death was received by the family.
Nelson Kgwete, the spokesperson of the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, said he had not received any information.
South African intelligence sources told The Post that they were concerned that terrorist groups other than IS have been recruiting locals to travel to Syria, Turkey, Libya and Iraq to join their organisations.
State Security spokesman Brian Dube said there were ongoing investigations into people who suspiciously leave the country and travel to Syria.
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