From Magnus Eze, Abuja
The Federal Government yesterday exposed the new recruitment strategy of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). It said the group has resorted to targeting vulnerable individuals, including foreign students, using financial inducements to recruit them into the terrorist organisation.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement in Abuja urged parents and guardians to monitor the activities of their children and wards in order to prevent them from being recruited by the Islamic group. He cited the recent recruitment into ISIS of 27 medical students of the University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) in Sudan as an example of the new strategy being used by the organisation to recruit more members.
The statement by Special Assistant to the Minister, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, quoting a report received by the Nigerian intelligence community, said 22 of the 27 students, who travelled to Syria to join ISIS were Britons.
“According to the report, the students were recruited by one Mohammed Fakhri Al-khabbas, a former UMST student from Middlesborough, United Kingdom. Many of the students are children of reputable doctors in the UK. Their social media accounts also revealed them as praising Jihadists and championing ISIS’ cause,” he stated.
The minister therefore appealed to Nigerians, especially those whose children and wards are in foreign academic institutions, to pay more attention to their activities.
He further urged schools across the country to enlighten their students on the new ISIS’ recruitment strategy.
The Federal Government had June last year warned Nigerians to be mindful of a recently launched mobile application developed by the ISIS for propagating Jihad to children.
It said the mobile application, tagged ‘Huroof’ (Arabic alphabets or letters), was being used by ISIS to teach children the Arabic alphabets with the aid of guns, military tanks and cannons.