British teenagers are being sent by their parents to Somalia, itself recovering from a series of terror attacks, because of concern that the police cannot protect them from knife crime.
Representatives from north London’s Somali community say hundreds of children have been flown to Somalia, Somaliland and Kenya because of rising concerns over drug gangs and county lines, the criminal networks that use children to transport drugs from cities to the provinces.
In a series of interviews, Somali mothers who arrived in London after fleeing their country during its 1990s civil war told the Observer that many of their sons had asked to leave the UK because of drug gangs and the threat of violence.
Rakhia Ismail, Islington deputy mayor, said: “Sending them away has become the only way they can be safer. This issue of safety has been repeatedly raised by the community but nobody has listened. So many children have gone abroad. Two weeks ago, there was a stabbing and a child was taken back home two days later.”
The revelations follow a week of heated debate over the causes of and potential solutions to Britain’s knife crime epidemic. Seventeen people have died after attacks in London alone since the start of 2019. On Saturday, there were reports that three people were in hospital after an attack at a nightclub in Birmingham, a city reeling from three knife fatalities within days last month. And a 15-year-old boy was charged with murder after the stabbing of 17-year-old Ayub Hassan, in west London, on Thursday afternoon.
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