Trinidad Muslims Allegedly Traveling to Venezuela for Jihadist Training

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Caught on camera: Cellphone images seized by SEBIN, Venezuela’s Intelligence Service, allegedly show some of the Trinidadian Muslims, now detained in a Venezuelan jail, on a firing range using high-powered weapons. Photo: Trinidad Express
Cellphone images seized by SEBIN, Venezuela’s Intelligence Service, allegedly show some of the Trinidadian Muslims on a firing range using high-powered weapons. Photo: Trinidad Express

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad — Cellphone images seized by SEBIN, Venezuela’s intelligence service, allegedly show Trinidadian Muslims arrested in Venezuela engaging in what SEBIN described as “pre-jihad training” on a firing range using high-powered weapons, the Trinidad Express reported.

The images were reportedly extracted from the cellphones seized from some of the Muslims in a group that traveled to Venezuela from Trinidad and were later arrested in a raid at the Plaza Hotel in Caracas on March 19, together with women and children, who were later released.

The training resembled what takes place in the Middle East as Muslims prepare for what they term jihad, or holy war, an important religious duty for Muslims that includes armed struggle against persecution and oppression.

Intense military, arms and ammunition training is part and parcel of their routine and some of this kind of training, SEBIN alleges, was taking place in Venezuela by some of the Trinidadian Muslims.

In a top secret document prepared by SEBIN and sent to the Trinidad and Tobago government, the pictures in question were taken by three Venezuelan police officers who were later arrested. There are at least six photographs of the men.

Eight Trinidadian Muslims are currently detained by Venezuelan authorities on suspicion of terrorist activities. The 14 women and children who were held with them at the Plaza Hotel in Caracas on March 19 were released some ten days later and sent back to Trinidad.

This followed a visit of a Trinidad and Tobago delegation headed by Rear Admiral Richard Kelshall who met with Venezuelan authorities two days prior to their release.

Out of that meeting emanated the top secret document given to the Trinidad and Tobago government, which the Trinidad Express reported exposes some alarming security concerns that the country’s security forces need to monitor closely.

The document outlines in detail the day the Trinidadian Muslims were held at the Plaza Hotel in Caracas and revelations about possible terrorist activities that can have far reaching consequences for Trinidad and Tobago.

Minister of National Security Gary Griffith spoke about the document in late April.

“A secret document has been given to me through the delegation from the Venezuelan authorities and this is obviously a sensitive document and I would not be able to actually state what is in the document, it is sensitive correspondence,” Griffith said.

In the top secret document, there are dates of the arrivals for all the Trinidadians who touched down at the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Venezuela between January and March this year.

The raid on the Trinidadian Muslims at the Plaza Hotel, authorities said, was brought to the attention of SEBIN “after a prolonged stay at the hotel,” and the use of “cash to cover their bills”.

Further suspicion arose, SEBIN stated, when members of the group were reclusive, as more persons continued to arrive and bills continued “to be paid exclusively in cash”.

Read the full story caribbeannewsnow.com

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