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Fiji Time: 6:41 PM on Wednesday 23 April

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Courting terror

Nasik Swami
Saturday, March 02, 2013

STUDENTS who attend madrasas (educational institutions) in Pakistan are targeted by recruiters of militant groups.

And there is a possibility that some Fijians who have been allegedly recruited by the Taliban could have attended one of the militant madrasas.

This was confirmed to this newspaper in an interview yesterday by the director administration and research of the Federal Administered Tribal Areas Research Centre (FATA), Mansur Khan Mehsud.

Mr Mehsud said there were madrasas in Pakistan all the way to the border with Afghanistan, which Muslims from all over the world attended.

These madrasas teach students about the Islamic religion and some of them promote the hardline sharia law which the Taliban promotes in Afghanistan, where it continues to wage its war of terror against the moderate government, those who support it and coalition forces, which include Fijians with the British Army and US forces.

Ten Fijian soldiers in the British Army have died fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan since coalition forces invaded that country in October 2001 following the September 11 attacks in New York.

Mr Mehsud said news of Fijian recruits in the Taliban was news all over Pakistan.

"We do not know anything else. Taliban and the local militants use wireless phones and wireless communication sets so we do not know how they recruit people. It is very impossible to get to them," he said from Pakistan.

Mr Mehsud said they did not know how the Fijians were recruited by the Taliban.

He said the information was provided for FATA's survey through middlemen who had links to the Taliban.

Police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said the International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) general secretary, Ronald Noble, came to Fiji this week to discuss the issue.

He said terrorism was a global threat that needed co-operation and shared intelligence between countries.

"We're not taking this threat lightly," he said.

"The commissioner gave directives after we received information that some people from Fiji in that region were trying to make contact with the Taliban.

"We'll investigate every lead to ensure Fiji is free of such threats."