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Mother of schoolgirl who travelled to join IS says police “hopeless”

NewsBy Karl Doyle
Images from Turkish broadcaster A Haber of a girl believed to be one of three British girls on their way to join the Islamic State Group in Syria
Images from Turkish broadcaster A Haber of a girl believed to be one of three British girls on their way to join the Islamic State Group in Syria

The mother of one of three schoolgirls feared to have joined the Islamic State (IS) terror group has said their families "do not trust" police as relatives retrace the girls' steps.

Friends Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15, left their family homes in east London and went to Turkey last month before crossing into an Islamic State-controlled area of Syria to reportedly become so-called "jihadi brides".

Fetia Hussen, the mother of Amira, told the Times she felt the police had been "hopeless" and also criticised the girls' school, Bethnal Green Academy.

"This is our last chance to find our girls and beg them to come home," she told the paper.

"We were on our own in the UK with the police not helping and the school not helping. The people of Turkey have been very helpful to us and we take hope from that.

"We begged the police to take computers to check if there is anything on there useful to help find our daughters. The police only took these things after we asked them many times. We do not trust the police will do anything with this."

The comments come after previous criticisms of the police investigation into the trio's disappearance, which earlier this month prompted Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to apologise for failing to communicate more directly with the girls' families.

But he has insisted there was nothing more the force could have done to stop them from leaving, while Greater Manchester Police chief constable Sir Peter Fahy said it was "ill-advised" for the relatives of children who join terrorist groups to blame the police for not taking action.

The families have so far visited the bus station in Istanbul where the schoolgirls were captured on CCTV waiting for a coach to the Syrian border.

About 600 Britons are believed to have travelled to Syria and Iraq since the conflict began, according to Scotland Yard assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, the national policing lead for counter-terrorism.