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Two missing girls claim they've joined Islamist group in Syria

COUNTIES
By Nyambega Gisesa | May 19th 2015

 

Two 20-year-old girls who disappeared last Wednesday have shocked their relatives who have received a message saying that they are in Syria.

 

If true, the youths will become the first confirmed cases of Kenyans who have joined the ISIS.

The two childhood friends – Salwa Abdalla and Twafiqa Dahir – who are residents of Nairobi's South C Estate left their homes on Wednesday afternoon and have been missing since then.

However, on Sunday evening, they broke their silence in a message that has brought tears instead of joy to their relatives and a new security headache to the Kenyan government after one of them said that she is in Syria.

Twafiqa Dahir, while chatting with her cousin using the Telegram messaging application, opened up that she had crossed over to Syria.

The cousin who identified herself as Rahama Abnasir said that they exchanged 27 messages between them.

"I received the first message at 9.28pm when she informed me that she had arrived in Syria. We finished chatting at 9.47pm. She promised to get back to me on Monday after buying a new phone and getting a home to stay at," Rahama said.

Both parents described their daughters as disciplined children and who have very few friends between them.

"I live in Mandera and I always talk to my daughter daily over the phone. However, on Wednesday last week, we did not talk since her phone was switched off," Rahma Adan, Twafiqa's mother said.

Twafiqa sat her KCSE in 2012 and scored a B. She opted to join a madrassa to learn more about Islam before joining the University of Nairobi while Swala is a second year Education student at Kenyatta University.

"Twafiqa came home from the madrassa on Wednesday afternoon together with Salwa. She was dropping her cousins and siblings from the madrassa. She then excused herself to escort Salwa. From that moment, both their phones went off," Twafiqa's mother told the Standard.

Salwa's mother, Khadija Abdalla, said that her daughter rarely even went out to the shops. During her long breaks from the university, Salwa would teach at the nearby Muslim Girls Secondary School.

The parents, who have since reported their disappearance and the information that they are in Syria to the Directorate of Criminal Investigations and at the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit (ATPU), hope that their daughters will be found.

"We have made reports to the police and given them everything they need. We hope that we will find our daughters," Rahma said.

But the girls could be celebrating a bit too early. Last week, a UK newspaper reported that girls who had left Britain and joined ISIS were desperate to return home after discovering that things were not as rosy as they had anticipated.

Zahra and Salma Halane, 17, were said to be among three teenage girls who have reportedly escaped from the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq.

Britain, however, is unwilling to accept Jihadist girls who are of Somali origin back.

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