A number of refugees sent to Norway under the UN’s quota system have links to terrorist organisations including Islamic State and the al-Nusra Front, it has emerged. The director of Norway’s Police Security Services (PTS) has said that he can give “no guarantees” that terrorists will not slip through the net under the quota system.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees selected 1000 Syrians for relocation to Norway, but according to the PTS, between five and ten of those chosen have links to the terrorist groups.
Officers from the PTS have so far made two trips to the Middle East in order to liaise with Norway’s Foreign Ministry in vetting refugees handed to Norway under the UN quota system, The Local has reported. But it’s officers are unable to directly interview the allocated refugees.
Police Superintendent Svein Erik Molstad told Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper “Unfortunately, there are some who try to exploit and abuse the refugee agency. We have discovered more quota refugees with ties to the al-Nusra front and IS.”
He added that investigations have also uncovered so-called refugees with links to Syria’s feared secret police, as well as people suspected of carrying out war crimes during Syria’s civil war.
Dagbladet has learned that some extremists are using refugee reception centres as a recruiting ground for potential terrorists. Martin Bernsen, the director of the PTS told the paper “It’s a scenario we are aware of.”
It also reported that a number of asylum seekers have gone on to become central figures in radical Islamic circles in Norway. “We can not give any guarantees. Our fear is that one or more terrorists we are not aware of manages to get to Norway,” Bernsen said.
Meanwhile, the Austrian interior ministry has been forced to revise predicted asylum application figures upwards by 20,000 as the flood of migrants from the war torn middle east continues to rise.
The Local has reported that the figures were revised following a surge in applications, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan. 1,800 have been received in the last week alone.
Austria has not had to deal with such a huge influx of asylum seekers since the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, sending 162,000 people fleeing across the border.
The huge influx has provoked heated debate within the country over where to house the migrants. The possibility of using army barracks has been raised, but there is some debate over whether they would become the responsibility of state or federal authorities. Currently many are houses in tent encampments.
According to the Kronen Zeitung newspaper, a Syrian man threatened to cut his own throat on Saturday at a refugee camp in Linz, after complaining about the food being served.