ACCRA (Reuters) - A 25-year-old Muslim from Ghana has travelled to an Islamic State training camp, becoming the first known recruit from the West African nation to join the militant group, his family said on Tuesday.
About a third of Ghana`s population of 27 million are Muslims. They have long co-existed peacefully with the Christian majority and have so far apparently avoided the influence of the kinds of radical Islam that have taken root in neighbouring Nigeria and Mali.
Nazir Nortei Alema, a university graduate from the capital Accra, had initially told his parents he was travelling to Prestea, a mining town in the country`s west.
"Two weeks later on Aug. 16, we got a Whatsapp message from him saying he was at a training ground to join the Islamic State group in an unknown country," his brother Kabiru Alema told Reuters.
Thousands of foreigners from more than 80 nations have joined the ranks of Islamic State and other radical groups in Syria and Iraq.
Kabiru Alema said his brother had not expressed any particular interest in radical Islam but, in his message, Nazir Alema said that by joining Islamic State he was obeying a call from Allah to abandon what he called "the corrupt system".
"He said he loves us so much and that we should forgive him for not making his intentions known to us from the beginning," his brother said.
The Ghanaian government was not immediately available for comment.
Nigeria`s Boko Haram, West Africa`s deadliest Islamist militant group, swore allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in March.