‘Briton Killed’ Fighting For Al Shabaab In Kenya

A British jihadist who left the UK to join the terror group al Shabaab is believed to have been killed in an attack on a Kenyan army base.

Thomas Evans, 25, turned to Islam in 2009
Thomas Evans, 25, turned to Islam in 2009

The British embassy in Nairobi said it is “seeking to confirm reports” Thomas Evans died on Sunday when militants from al Qaeda’s Somalia affiliate attacked the base in Baure, close to the border with Somalia.

Two Kenyan soldiers were killed and at least 15 Shabaab fighters, including two “Caucasians”, according to Kenyan defence officials.

Kenya Defence Forces spokesman Colonel David Obonyo said: “All the available data, including photographs, points to it being Thomas Evans.

“There is an investigation going on with forensics and DNA to confirm his identity.”

A Foreign Office spokeswoman 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.”

In a statement, Mrs Evans said: “My son, Michael and I, are currently awaiting official confirmation regarding the death of my son Thomas.

“We cannot comment any further at this time and request the press respect our privacy.”

If confirmed, Evans’ death would be the first reported case of a British Islamist militant being killed on Kenyan soil.

The Muslim convert, who is also known as Abdul Hakim, is reported to have travelled to Somalia in 2011 to join al Shabaab.

The 25-year-old’s family live in Buckinghamshire.

Earlier this year, his mother spoke of her shock over her son going to fight with the militants.

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

Police lost track of Thomas in 2011, and in January 2012 he called his family to say 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,” Mrs Evans said. Sunday’s attacks saw dozens of gunmen raid a military base and briefly take over a village in Lamu County.

Officials said a major security operation was under way to pursue the attackers.

Al Shabaab is increasingly targeting Kenya after battling for years to overthrow the Somali government.

Four gunmen from the group killed at least 148 people, most of them students, at a university in Garissa in April.

In September 2013, al Shabaab gunmen killed at least 67 people in an assault on the Westgate shopping mall in the capital Nairobi.

The group was once a magnet for foreign volunteers, but their capacity to recruit has been diminished by the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

At the weekend it was revealed a British teenager, Talha Asmal, isbelieved to have carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq after joining Islamic State.

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