Pretoria – Reacting to the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the South African government took a strong position against terrorism.
In a statement issued on Monday, the International Relations and Cooperation Department called on all countries to co-operate in rooting out terrorism in all its manifestations, while reaffirming its commitment to support peace, security and development in the world.
“South Africa reconfirms the commitment to the system of global governance of multilateralism. Our resolve to support peace, security and development in the world remains. We call upon all countries across the world to cooperate in stemming the demon of terrorism, in all its manifestations, out of global politics,” department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said.
The 56-year-old leader of al-Qaeda was shot dead in the early hours of Monday morning when United States navy seals stormed a million dollar compound in Pakistan.
Bin Laden claimed responsibility for the 11 September 2001 attacks in the US that claimed the lives of nearly 3 000 people. He is also believed to be responsible for organising or funding many other attacks, including the 1998 bombing of two US embassies in East Africa, the 1995 bombing of a Saudi security training centre in Riyadh and numerous attacks inside Afghanistan.
After his killing, bin Laden was buried by the US military at sea in accordance with his own religious customs, as no country would accept his remains, a senior US official said Monday.
The burial was conducted aboard aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea, the official said on condition of anonymity during a background briefing with media. It took place within 24 hours of the al-Qaida leader’s death.
“The body was placed in a weighted bag. A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker,” he added.
Afterward, bin Laden’s body was placed onto a flat board, which was then elevated upward on one side and the body slid off into the sea.
CIA and Defence Department officials are confident it was the body of bin Laden. CIA specialists compared photos of the body with known photos of bin Laden and said with 95-percent certainty it was him, a senior intelligence official said.
In addition, the intelligence official said bin Laden’s wife identified him by name while the strike team was still in the compound.
Specialists performed the initial DNA analysis, matching a virtually 100-percent DNA match of the body against the DNA of several of bin Laden’s family members.
John Brennan, assistant to the US President for homeland security and counterterrorism, also confirmed in a White House briefing the burial of bin Laden’s remains “was done in strict conformance with Islamist precepts and practices.”
There has been mixed reaction to bin Laden’s death, with some fearing revenge attacks by his followers, while others like UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described it as a “watershed moment” in the fight against the scourge of terrorism.
Ambassador Gerard Araud of France, which holds the rotating UN Security Council presidency this month, read out a presidential statement in which the 15-member panel welcomed the news that bin Laden “will never again be able to perpetrate such acts of terrorism.”
The statement urged all countries to remain vigilant and intensify their efforts to defeat terrorism, including by working together to bring to justice the perpetrators, organisers and sponsors of terrorist attacks.
“The Security Council stresses… that terrorism will not be defeated by military force, law enforcement measures and intelligence operations alone, and can only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach involving the active participation and collaboration of all States, and relevant international and regional organisations and civil society to address the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism and to impede, impair, isolate and incapacitate the terrorist threat.” – BuaNews-Xinhua
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