Two Somalian-Norwegian sisters who disappeared from their home just west of Oslo late last week have been observed near the border to Syria, police in Asker og Bærum reported on Monday. It’s believed they traveled to Turkey in hopes of joining the fight against the Syrian government.
Their disappearance sparked media attention over the weekend, not least because of reports last week that a young Somalian-Norwegian man played a major role in the recent terrorist attacks in Nairobi. Norwegian officials are increasingly concerned about young citizens who are becoming radicalized on both the far left and far right of politics, and as religious extremists.
The two sisters are aged 16 and 19 and were reported missing on Friday. Both are Norwegian citizens, and police have received information that they initially traveled to Turkey.
“They may still be in Turkey,” Nina Karstensen Bjørlo of the Asker og Bærum Police District, told reporters on Monday. She said police were “working closely with the foreign ministry and with the Norwegian Embassy in Turkey,” but had no immediate plans to send Norwegian police to Turkey to search for the sisters.
Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that they’d been told the sisters were heading to Syria “to fight as good muslims.” Website vg.no reported that it had been forwarded an e-mail allegedly sent by the girls before they left Norway. In it, they wrote that “muslims were being attacked on all sides and we have to do something. We so want to help the muslims and the only way we can really help them is to be with them in their suffering and their joy. It’s not enough to sit home any longer and send money. With that in mind, we have decided to travel to Syria and help all we can.”
Their family reported them missing on Friday and are worried about their motives, NRK reported. Police are also working closely with the family in hopes of getting in contact with the girls.