Government officers have started visiting Muslim families who are seeking to bring home relatives—mainly women and children—detained at the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria.
This was confirmed by Concerned Muslims of T&T members who recently wrote Foreign Affairs and National Security officials seeking help to bring the people home.
This, after local families, asked CMTT to help to get the people home.
They’re said to be relatives of people who went Islamic State war zones over the years.
The initial figure was 25-plus children ages one to 10 and several women.
On Wednesday, CMTT officials said the number has risen to 40 children—including orphans—and 16 women.
UN High Commissioner Michele Bachelet recently said al Hol houses 55,000 alleged foreign Isis fighters from nearly 50 countries and 11,000 family members—wives and children.
On Tuesday, National Security Minister Stuart Young said the Government cannot “at this time” give the undertaking to facilitate the return of those detained at the camp since the first thing that has to be done is a verification exercise to establish who exists, whether they’re in fact T&T citizens and their background.
He said the Government has to treat with these matters carefully and the camp houses people who’ve fled Isis war zones.
He said Government has policies/procedures which they’ve implemented including the use of Team Nightingale, a multi-agency task force comprising the Counter Trafficking and Counter-Terrorism units police, Defence Force, Immigration, National Security and other intelligence agencies. The group liaises with other such services
Sources said most recent names coming to CMTT included children from several Rio Claro families and some of the children are orphaned. Among other orphans at the camp said to have T&T roots, is a 16- year- old boy.
Officers have visited Rio Claro Imam Nazim Mohammed, he has confirmed.
He gave them the names of his seven great-grandchildren who are in Iraq. Their mothers— his three granddaughters—and his daughter, 53, are serving 20- year sentences for suspected Isis links.
They went to Iraq in 2015. The children were reported to be in a centre near the area where their mothers are jailed Other families in Central were also visited by government officers recently.
- by Gail Alexander