Former private school girl among ‘brainwashed medical students volunteering for Isil’

Eight of the nine British medics. Clockwise from left: Hisham Mohammed Fadlallah, Tasneem Suleyman Huseyin, Ismail Hamadoun, Nada Sami Kader, Mohamed Osama Badri Mohammed, Rowan Kamal Zine El Abidine, Tamer Ahmed Ebu Sebah and Lena Maumoon Abdulqadir.

Lena Mamoun Abdelgadir, bottom left, was an ‘incredibly bright’ pupil at Wisbech Grammar School 

Lena Mamoun Abdelgadir is one of up to nine British students in their late teens or early 20s believed to have crossed the border from Turkey last week to treat those in hospitals held by the militant extremists.

Their families have told Turkish officials they believe their children have been “brainwashed” into helping the jihadists of Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (Isil).

Miss Abdelgadir’s father, who is a respected surgeon at a Norfolk hospital, flew to Turkey to find his daughter hours she told her sister she was on her way to treat Syrian civilians. Other relatives have followed and are calling on the Government to do more to bring their children back.

Staff at her former school, Wisbech Grammar School, said they were shocked and surprised at the news.

Miss Abdelgadir, from King’s Lynn in Norfolk, spent nine years at the Cambridgeshire school, where fees are nearly £12,000 a year. She left after her GCSEs to begin medical training in Khartoum, Sudan. All the missing students have Sudanese roots and are current or former pupils at Khartoum’s private University of Medical Sciences and Technology.

Chris Staley, headmaster of Wisbech Grammar School, said: “She was an incredibly bright and focused young lady who was clearly destined for great things on the medical or scientific side.”

He described her as a popular, typical pupil who had represented the school in sports including hockey, and was a member of the student council.

He said: “There are staff here who taught her and everyone is shocked and surprised.”

“She was very concerned not only about her own education, but about others’ education, which was why she was a member of the student council.

“It doesn’t surprise me she has gone for humanitarian reasons.”

Ismail Hamadoun

Miss Abdulgadir sent a social networking message to her sister in the UK on March 12, saying: “Don’t worry, we’ve reached Turkey and are on our way to volunteer helping wounded Syrian people.”

A statement from the families said their children were high achievers and had “excellent” moral capabilities.

“Our sons and daughters have always been participating in humanitarian and good cause social work,” the statement from the families said.

“They have come to Turkey willingly to offer voluntary medical help to those refugees who are in need of medical care on Turkey’s borders.”

The other missing medics were named as Ismail Hamdounn; Hisham Muhammed Fadlallah; Nada Sami Kader; Rowan Kamal Zine El Abidine; Tasneem Suleyman Huseyin; Tamer Ahmed Ebu Sebah; Mohamed Osama Badri Mohammed – also known as Usage Muhammed Bedir – and Sami Ahmed Kadir.

In February, three schoolgirls from Bethnal Green ran away from home and slipped into Syria to become so-called ‘Jihadi brides’ (L-R) Kadiza Sultana, 16, Shamima Begum, 15, and Amira Abase, 15 followed Sharmeena Begum (not pictured) to Syria

The Foreign Office said it was giving consular assistance to the families of seven Britons and some of the missing medics are believed to be from other countries.

Mehmet Ali Ediboglu, a Turkish opposition politician helping the families, said the medics were beelived to be in Tel Abyad, which is under Isil control.

He told the Observer on Sunday; “The conflict out there is fierce, so medical help must be needed.

“They have been cheated, brainwashed. That is what I, and their relatives, think.”

Henry Bellingham, the local MP, said: “I am sure the whole community is in shock about what has happened. I know this has come as a dreadful blow to the rest of the family as it is obvious they only wanted what the very best for their daughter when they sent her to the Khartoum Medical School.

“The last thing they had expected was for her to be sent to Syria to support Islamic State by working as a medical volunteer.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust said Mr Abdelgadir was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon.

A spokeswoman said: “Our thoughts are with Mr Abdel-Gadir and his family at this difficult time. This is a personal matter and The Trust will be making no further comment.”

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