40 Danes trained by al-Shabaab
An estimated 40 Danish residents have been to training camps in east Africa run by Islamist militant group al-Shabaab, according to national intelligence agency PET.
Al-Shabaab was responsible for the Westgate Shopping Mall attack in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi yesterday, where at least 62 people are reported dead and a further 175 were wounded in mass shootings.
Some of the al-Shabaab fighters involved in the attack reportedly come from western countries, and PET said the organisation's recruitment in Denmark was part of an overall effort to gain new members from countries outside of Somalia, where the group has its roots.
“We are working closely with the Kenyan authorities to indentify potential terror threats against Danish interests,” head of PET Jakob Scharf said. “While the terrorist threat against Danish targets in eastern Africa is serious, the risk for Danes remains highest near local terror targets, including places where westerners go,” Scharf said.
In 2008, al-Shabaab condemned Denmark and the Danish government for repeated publication of the 2005 Muhammed cartoons by the country's newspapers.
Shooters told Muslims to leave the shopping centre and hostages were killed when they couldn’t answer the name of the prophet’s mother, according to news bureau Associated Press. This has led terror experts to suspect that al-Shabaab is now intentionally going after non-Muslims.
PET said it did not see the Nairobi attack as reason to suspect that there was an increased threat of attack in Denmark.
Al-Shabaab has ties to terror group al-Qaeda. It controls large areas of southern Somalia, where members have hunted 'enemies of Islam' and imposed a strict form of Sharia law.