Never ceases to amaze me that Britain has become one of the world’s leading exporters of jihadi fighters…
(Guardian)- A growing number of Britons are answering the call to jihad in Somalia and joining the ranks of militants linked to al-Qaida ahead of an American-backed drive next month to strengthen the country’s army.
Sources say that the influx, which includes Britons of Pakistani origin, is heading to the Horn of Africa as the US tries to shore up Somalia’s government in the face of a broadening Islamist insurgency.
Warnings have been sounded about British-based groups offering funding and expertise to individuals seeking to travel to Somalia to fight alongside al-Shabab,the militia aligned with al-Qaida’s global campaign.
US State Department sources said yesterday that it had noted an influx of “foreign fighters” arriving in Somalia to swell the ranks of al-Shabab. Popular routes from Britain to Somalia involve Kenya or Djibouti, the small republic that borders Somalia on its north west. One western official said some flights to the republic had, at one stage, been dubbed the “Djibouti express” because on occasion so many young Britons were on board. The precise scale of the exodus is unclear, but “scores” of British fighters are known to have travelled to Somalia.
Concern is growing over the drip-feed of British men attending Somali training camps. Officials are keen to limit the country’s potential to evolve into an alternative hideout for al-Qaida extremists from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Somalia’s ungoverned spaces raise the risk, say analysts, of the country replicating Afghanistan’s role as an al-Qaida safe haven when under Taliban control.
America has brought US special forces into Yemen to work with the army to try to counter the al-Qaida threat. It has also spent $6.8m in Somalia supporting training for nearly 2,000 soldiers, touted as the biggest effort to rebuild the Somalian army in 20 years.
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In: Afghanistan, News
Tags: UK:, “Scores”, of, British, Muslims, Heading, to, Fight, Alongside, al-Shabaab, Prior, to, US-Backed, Offensive
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