London: Dozens of radicalised Muslims in Britain are being trained by militant Islamists to fight in a “holy war” for Al Shabaab, the al Qaeda inspired Somali terrorist group, it has emerged.
Intelligence experts believe that nearly 50 British “volunteers”, including white Christian converts and British-Somali men, have been recruited to fight for the terror outfit in Somalia.
They believe the British volunteers form the core of an international force of foreign fighters drawn from the United States, Canada, Europe and East Africa, The Telegraph reports.
Government officials have raised fears that the failed state is rapidly becoming a recruiting ground for British Jihadists in much the same way as Afghanistan was in the 1990s.
The Security Service believes that British volunteers who survive the bloody civil war may return to the UK as hardened terrorists eager to launch attacks against the homeland.
“Somalia poses a significant potential threat to the UK. It is regarded as a dog, which has barked but not yet bitten. These people are no mugs. Somalia is awash with weapons and there are some very tasty fighters out there,” the paper quoted an expert, as saying.
The expert added that if anyone could survive for three years on the front line, they had the potential to become a “very accomplished” international terrorist.
The expert said that Al-Shabaab, which aims to turn Somalia into a hard line Sharia state, views British Muslims as prized assets because they are literate, motivated and have access to money.
“Young British and western Muslims are regarded as highly prized assets by Al-Shabaab, Most are educated, computer literate, can drive, have access to hard currency and will have connections in the west. Even a little money goes a long way in Somalia. So if a teenager arrives and he is not regarded as front line material then he will have other uses,” the expert added.
According to the paper the revelations emerged ahead of an international summit to be hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron next week on the future of Somalia.
Cameron has recently described Somalia as “a failed state that directly threatens British interests” through kidnapping, piracy and the radicalisation of young Britons.