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Zimbabwean police identify pakistani terrorist suspect



Zimbabwean police have identified the suspected international terrorist arrested at Beitbridge Border Post on Sunday night as Imran Muhammad who is wanted in connection with the Mumbai bombings that left hundreds dead.

Muhammad (33), a Pakistani, arrested on Sunday along with fellow countryman Chaudry Parvez Ahmed (39) as they tried to enter South Africa are now in custody as an international terrorist investigations begins. The duo were using fake passports.

The arrest of the two entering South Africa during the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup has raised much worry around the world.

The state-run Herald said while authorities would not divulge how investigations were proceeding, the Daily Times of Pakistan in January this year reported that the Special Investigation Group of the Federal Investigation Agency was looking for Imran Muhammad as well as 119 other suspected terrorists.

It could not be determined yesterday if this was the same person who is now in custody in Zimbabwe.

Indications were that the Muhammad wanted in Pakistan was allegedly involved in the terror attacks that rocked Mumbai, India, in November 2008.

However, a search of the online database of Interpol’s wanted persons did not return any matches.

Another online search of legal cases involving the name in the past decade showed a case in America of a Pakistani named Imran Muhammad Butt who overstayed in the US in November 2001 and said he could not return home because he would be persecuted because of "membership in a particular social group".

It could not be established at the time of writing if this was the same person.

Sources said Muhammad was normally based in the Chilean capital of Santiago.

It is understood that Muhammad and Ahmed flew from Saudi Arabia to Tanzania, where they fraudulently acquired Kenyan passports before connecting to Zimbabwe by road.

Their luck ran out on Sunday night when an immigration officer at Beitbridge discovered they were using fake passports.

The official alerted the Police Border Control Unit leading to their arrest.

Zimbabwe police are still investigating the case and would not give away anything yesterday.

Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said the two were assisting police with investigations.

"They are in Harare and in custody as investigations on the case continue."

Assistant regional immigration officer Mr Evans Siziba added: "It’s an issue that is before the police.

"Maybe when they are through we will be at liberty to comment."

Police and Immigration officials would also not say if an international arrest warrant had been issued or what particular acts of terror the suspected terrorist was wanted for and in which country he was sought.

South African and Zimbabwean police have assured visitors that they will thwart crimes of concern during the 2010 Fifa Soccer World Cup, which started on June 11 and ends on July 11.

Zimbabwean police are in South Africa assisting their counterparts for the duration of the tournament.