The government of Trinidad and Tobago has confirmed that more than 100 men, women and children from that country had traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) between 2013 and 2015 in addition to Trinidad and Tobago fighters fighting with the militant organization.
National Security Minister Edmund Dillion said the number includes about 40 children from 20 families, some as young as three years old, who could not have made the decision independently — and up to 16 years.
The minister is said to be looking at other countries besides those in which ISIS operates, such as Syria and Iraq. One group under scrutiny is Muslims who travel to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage, the Hajj.
Dillion said that while there are genuine pilgrims, they have to monitor all areas and look at all possibilities.
Last week Opposition MP Dr. Roodlal Moonilal, a former minister of housing in the former Kamala Persad-Bissessar administration told Parliament that about 400 Trinidad and Tobago nationals had been indoctrinated, radicalized and trained by ISIS. He described ISIS as the most significant security threat to Trinidad and Tobago.
Minister Dillon told a daily newspaper his blacklist contained 105 descriptions of men, women and children and names of those who have gone to Syria.
Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi said there are growing concerns of Trinidad and Tobago nationals being part of the ISIS operating in Trinidad and Tobago.
He said the government continues to explore legislation to stop nationals from returning to the country after serving in ISIS.
However, the AG said there is an issue of making sure that people who are caught in these circumstances are treated within the confines of the law and the Constitution.
Al-Rawi said people had multiple rights, one of which was a package of rights as a result of citizenship.