The father of a young British man who left the UK to join al-Shabaab in Somalia has appealed to the government to do more to support families like his to help free their loved ones from the jihadi group.
It is thought that as many as 100 young Brits from the Somali community have gone to fight with the group. Once in Somalia, many become demoralised with the group and the tough conditions, but they are not permitted to leave.
Special Correspondent Rageh Omaar reports.
Speaking anonymously, the father said that many British Somali families do not feel that they can seek help from the government as they fear the whole family will be placed under suspicion from intelligence agencies. The families are therefore left attempting to free their child from the clutches of the terror group alone. He explained:
The family back in the UK are often left shocked and devastated by the news their child has volunteered to become a jihadi fighter. Describing the lengths families go to to try and contact their child after they receive the news, he said:
Al-Shabaab exploits the unhappy new recruits as a funding mechanism for their terror activities. Many young men are held captive and only released after the family have gathered together huge sums of money.
The father appealed to the government to be more sympathetic to British Somalis caught in the crisis of losing their loved ones, and to engage with young Somalis who joined and then left the terror group.