British Muslims are travelling to Somalia for “jihadi tourism” to train for terrorist attacks in Britain, the secret documents reveal.
The United Nations special envoy to Somalia was so worried about rebels linked to al-Qaeda that he urged the United States to launch targeted strikes against extremists in the region.
In a dispatch from the US embassy in Nairobi a month earlier, the Americans detailed British fears over the threat posed by Somalia.
Britain saw “a growing likelihood” of attacks from radicalised British Somalis who had travelled to Somalia or Pakistan for “indoctrination and training” and returned to commit acts of terrorism, the cable said. Large numbers of British passport holders lived in the region while many young British Somalis were sent there for “straightening out” by their families.
“There is also believed to be a certain amount of so-called 'jihadi tourism’ to southern Somalia by UK citizens of Somali ethnicity,” the file said.
During 2008, US officials were becoming increasingly concerned at the failure of their British counterparts to grasp the scale of the problem. On Dec 4, Robert Tuttle, the US ambassador in London, told the State Department that the Foreign Office opposed sending peacekeeping troops to Somalia on the grounds that “there is not enough peace to keep” in the country. Telegraph