British terror convert ‘has died’


Published: Monday 15th June 2015 by The News Editor

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A British Muslim convert is believed to have died fighting for terror group Al Shabaab.

Thomas Evans, 25, contacted his family to say he had travelled to Somalia to join the organisation in 2012 after leaving their home in Buckinghamshire.

Military officials in Kenya are said to be working to establish whether he was among suspected extremists killed in an attack on an army camp in Lamu County.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Kenya. We are not able to confirm them at this time.”

Earlier this year, Mr Evans’s mother told of her shock.

Giving evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Sally Evans said her son was a “normal teenage lad” before turning to Islam in 2009.

Ms Evans, from Wooburn Green in Buckinghamshire, said she was initially pleased as he had previously gone off the rails.

“He had done one or two things I wasn’t proud of, so I was quite happy for him to follow Islam if that was what he wanted,” she said.

“But slowly he started to drift down a path that was not right.”

Ms Evans said Thomas began refusing to use the same pots and pans as her and his younger brother Michael.

At the age of 21 he announced he was moving to Kenya and bought a single plane ticket. “I couldn’t stop him,” she said.

Thomas was turned back at the airport by police, but later sold his CDs and other possessions and told his family he was travelling to Egypt.

“I was relieved, because he said he was only going for six months to learn the language. He did tell me he was coming home.”

In August 2011 police came to their house and told them Thomas had been ranging more widely, and they had lost track of him.

The following January he called and said he had joined the terror group.

“He rang up then and told us he was in Somalia and had joined Al Shabaab, and not to worry,” Ms Evans said.

“In all honesty, I didn’t know what Al Shabaab was.”

When she realised that her son had joined a terror group and might be prepared to become a suicide bomber, it was the “biggest shock in the world”.

Ms Evans said she had given police all the information she had, as she would prefer Thomas to be in prison in the UK than dead or carrying out atrocities abroad.

“Then at least I would know that he was safe,” she added.

Al Shabaab, which is banned in the UK, is a Somalia-based group with links to al Qaida which has waged a violent campaign against the Somali transitional federal government for several years.

Up to 50 Britons are believed to have joined the organisation.

Published: Monday 15th June 2015 by The News Editor

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