JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South African teenager was taken off an airline flight because the 15-year-old girl was suspected to be leaving her home in Cape Town to join the Islamic State group, state security officials said Monday.
The girl was found at the Cape Town International Airport on Sunday, said State Security spokesman Brian Dube. It is believed that she was planning to travel to Saudi Arabia.
"There was information we were able to get that showed she might have been in contact with recruiters," said Dube. Security officials found documents in her home that showed she had been planning to join the military group.
The girl was questioned and then returned to her family's care, he said. The girl's family was also debriefed before she was sent home.
The State Security department is investigating how the teenager had paid for the flight and how she may have been recruited. Her parents discovered she was missing on Sunday morning and alerted the authorities, according to local media reports.
South Africa's State Security Minister David Mahlobo said in local media that the girl's social media accounts showed she was interested in joining the Islamic extremist group.
This is the first case of a South African teenager suspected of trying to join the Islamic State group, Dube said. Teenagers in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia have run away from home to join the group that now controls large parts of Iraq and Syria.