About 20 Canadians have travelled to Somalia to join Al-Shabab, a federal official said two weeks after a Toronto man was arrested as he was allegedly leaving to enlist in the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group.
As many as three of the Canadians may have been killed so far, the official added, although such deaths are hard to verify because of the armed conflict and the lack of a diplomatic corps in Somalia.
The figures suggest the scale of Canada’s problem with Al-Shabab recruitment is comparable to that experienced by the United States and Europe, which also have sizable populations of ethnic Somalis.
The Al-Shabab threat was underscored late last month when police arrested Mohamed Hersi at Toronto’s Pearson airport. The RCMP alleged he was on his way to Somalia “to join Al-Shabab and participate in their terrorist activities.”