Briton arrested on way to Shabaab town

2012-03-28 22:11

London - A British man who claimed to be heading on vacation to a rebel-held town in Somalia has been arrested in the country's capital on suspicion of links to a terrorist group, officials said on Wednesday.

Paddy Ankunda, a spokesperson in Somalia for the African Union military force, named the arrested man as Clive Denis Everton, born in 1966.

Everton was detained by Somali police at Mogadishu airport after travelling from Britain via Kenya.

Ankunda said police had discovered suspicious items in his luggage, including 30 CDs, but did not give any further explanation. He said that Everton had planned to travel to Kismayo, a rebel-held port town in southern Somalia.

In an interview broadcast on Somalia's RBC TV, Everton said he had hoped to travel overland to Kismayo from Mombasa, Kenya, but had been unable to carry out the trip.

"I just wanted somewhere peaceful, sunny ... nice," Everton said, insisting his trip was intended for recreation.

Britain's foreign ministry in London said it was investigating reports that a British passport holder had been arrested on suspicion of possible connections to terrorism.

Diplomats have recently warned that dozens of British and American citizens, including some with no family ties to Somalia, are travelling to the country to fight alongside al-Shabaab militants. Britain's Royal United Services Institute, a miltiary think tank, estimates about 200 foreigners are active in the country.

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned that Somalia's al-Qaeda linked militant group al-Shabaab could export terrorism to Europe and the United States, with dozens of British and American citizens travelling to Somalia to train and fight with the Islamists.