June 8, 2016 / 2:18 PM / 2 years ago

South Africa protests to U.S., Britain over militant alerts

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa has protested to the U.S. and British embassies after they issued alerts about possible militant attacks which Pretoria said were based on “very sketchy” information.

Security officials say no known militant groups operate in South Africa, which has seldom been associated with Islamist militancy.

The government has sent a letter to the embassies “to register our displeasure” with the manner in which the matter was handled.

“The information provided as a basis for the latest terror alerts on South Africa has been found to be very sketchy,” said foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela and State Security Agency (SSA) spokesman Brian Dube in a joint statement.

“We reject attempts to generate perceptions of government ineptitude, alarmist impressions and public hysteria on the basis of a questionable single source.”

Officials at the U.S. Embassy were not available to comment, but the embassy said on Twitter there is no change in the status.

“The Security Message was based on specific, credible, and non-counterable threat information,” it said.

On Saturday, the United States warned its citizens of possible attacks by Islamist militants on U.S. facilities or shopping malls in South Africa during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Reporting by James Macharia; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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