Boucar Gassama, father of medical student Sadio Gassama who left Senegal to join the Islamic State in Libya, sits in his courtyard surrounded by family in Ziguinchor, Senegal, in this picture taken March 3, 2016. REUTERS/Jean-Francois Huertas
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When Sadio Gassama decided to go into medicine, he started by giving free checkups at his mosque in Senegal's poor southern region of Casamance. Now, the 25-year-old medical student says he is treating Daesh (ISIS) fighters in Libya. Until recently, many thought the peaceful, tolerant Sufi brotherhoods in countries such as Senegal could prevent more conservative and radical versions of Islam from taking hold in poorer parts of West Africa, like Mali and Niger.Daesh propaganda and security sources confirm fighters from countries including Chad, Ghana, Senegal and Nigeria are already in Libya, where the group is consolidating its presence. The number of sub-Saharan Africans is not known but they are thought to represent a minority of the 3,000-6,000 Daesh fighters there, with most from North Africa and the Middle East.This foreign money and the migration of Senegal's youth to the cities has undermined the country's Mouride brotherhood, an old, established Islamic Sufi order which preaches tolerance.Gassama did not say who helped him join Daeshmore than a year ago, referring only to "guidance" in Senegal.
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