Kenyan police nab muslim student on way to join Islamic State

Published: February 19, 2016

Kenya’s security officers said Thursday they are interrogating a university student who was arrested while trying to travel to Libya to join Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror group.

The anti-terrorism police officers said Hassanein Ahmed Basty, a Kenyan, had just completed his first year studying biochemistry at the University of Nairobi when he was arrested on Tuesday while travelling to join the extremist group in Libya.
The anti-terrorist police said they have unearthed a syndicate of extremist online recruiters who have been targeting university students to join armed extremist groups in Libya and the Middle East.
“The recruiters lure these youths with the promise of well-paying jobs in foreign countries only for the hapless youth to find themselves forcefully recruited into these extremist groups,” the police said.
Security experts say Kenya has been a soft target for terrorist activities since 1998 and the menace has evolved as radical groups from the Horn of Africa infiltrate the country to kill and maim innocent civilians.
They said what has changed and is noticeable for it is the increase in vigilance by the general public and the fact that if they see something that they consider to be suspicious, they are more likely to report it to the police than they were.
The police, on their side, the experts said, are becoming more professional in their assessment of potential incidents.
The police said investigations have established that Basty in early 2015 was lured by an online recruiter who promised him a job as a phlebotomist (trained people who draw blood from patients) with his starting salary as 2,000 U.S. dollars which would eventually increase to 10,000 dollars which he applied.
“He was notified in October 2015 that his application had been successful and thereby decided to take up the job offer,” the police said.
According to investigators, the young man had used part of his university fees given by his parent to buy his ticket to Sudan, which is one of the transit routes to the war-torn country of Libya but was arrested before he accomplished his mission.
The latest arrest comes amid an upsurge of university students dropping out of college to join extremist groups in Libya and the Middle East, often without their parents’ knowledge.
Police are appealing on parents to regularly be in touch with their children in institutions of higher learning so as to deter these recruitments.
Police are still continuing with investigations on the syndicate to establish local collaborators, the police said.
It has long been feared that ISIS could ally with Somali terror group Al-Shabaab, which has been tied to Al-Qaida network.
Experts had predicted that as Al-Qaida fades and the Islamic State rises, ISIS might look like a better partner for the Somali militants. ISIS early this year accepted an oath of fealty from Boko Haram in Nigeria.

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