Kenya arrests Dutchmen headed for Somalia
Kenyan police have arrested three Dutchmen and a Somali with residence in the Netherlands who were allegedly on their way to join the radical Al-Shabaab movement in Somalia.
The foreign ministry in The Hague has confirmed the arrests, which took place on Monday near the border with Somalia. A brother of one of the men reported him missing to the Dutch police after he received text messages from Kenya saying his brother had been arrested.
Local authorities in Kenya say the four men were headed for Somalia to join
the radical Islamic Al-Shabaab ('youth' in Arabic) movement, which controls
large parts of the war-torn African country. An investigation has been
opened in the Netherlands into possible involvement with terrorism.
Al-Shabaab is known to have carried out suicide attacks and is sometimes linked to Al-Qaeda. It opposes the recognised government of Somalia and strives for a fundamentalist Islamic state in Somalia.
The Dutch foreign ministry said there is no indication Kenya wants to prosecute the four men. They will probably be deported to the Netherlands "in the next few days". For reasons of privacy, the ministry did not want to comment on reports that three of the men have the Dutch nationality but were born in Morocco, and one is a Somali with a residence permit in the Netherlands. All four are reportedly 21 years old.
Al-Shabaab is thought to count several hundred foreign jihadists among its members, mostly from countries like Pakistan or Afghanistan. But there have been rumours of training camps inside Somalia where British, Scandinavians and Americans are allegedly trained. In October last year, a Somali-American, Shirwa Ahmed, blew himself up in the semi-autonomous Somali region of Puntland.