Interestingly, he was "detained on the border between Mauritania and Mali as he tried to cross the Sahara on foot to reach the desert stronghold of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)." The American jihadist Rasheed Wilson was heading to Mauritania, and may have been planning to do the same thing.
"British student arrested in North Africa for ‘trying to join terror group threatening to take control of entire Sahara,’" from the Daily Mail, December 29 (thanks to David):
A British student is under arrest in North Africa accused of trying to join an Islamic terrorist group threatening to take control over the entire Sahara.
Ahmed Shaheen, 26, from London, was detained on the border between Mauritania and Mali as he tried to cross the Sahara on foot to reach the desert stronghold of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
The Islamic militants have established a brutal regime in the ancient desert city of Timbuktu and introduced Shariah law, ordering death-by-stoning and limb amputations as punishments.
Last night the Foreign Office said it was seeking further information about the whereabouts of the Briton.
A spokesman said: ‘We are aware of reports of the detention of a British National in Mauritania and are seeking further information.’
Shaheen, who is described as of Asian origin and wearing a beard, had been staying with a nomad family in the small oasis town of Walata, some 700 miles from the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott, posing as an expert in traditional communities.
He had attended prayers at the ancient mosque but was reported missing when he disappeared, after saying he planned to ‘walk to across the desert to Timbuktu’.
He was stopped by nomad tribesmen some 12 miles into the sand on Christmas Day and taken to security services operating in the border area who arrested him.
Shaheen is alleged to have told the Mauritanian Police he was trying to reach Timbuktu, in Mali, on foot, to join the AQIM jihadist struggle....