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Sudanese businessman Alithi Yousef and his wife Manal Fadlallah, holding their four-month-old grand-daughter Lojien, speak with AFP journalists at their home in a suburb of the capital Khartoum on March 4, 2017. (ASHRAF SHAZLY/AFP/Getty Images)


Sudanese couple adopts infant granddaughter after their daughter dies fighting for ISIS

By WITW Staff on March 16, 2017

A Sudanese husband and wife whose daughter fled to Libya in August of 2015 to join ISIS have chosen to take in their daughter’s 4-month-old infant shortly after first being informed of their daughter’s death — as well as the child’s existence.

“They told me on January 17 that my daughter Aya had been killed in fighting in Sirte,” said businessman Alithi Yousef, who lives together with his wife in Khartoum, Sudan. “But they also said they had some good news — Aya had a 4-month-old baby.”

Speaking with Agence-France Press journalists, Yousef said that Aya had grown up listening to Western music and reading English novels. Aya’s mother, Fadlallah, shared pictures of her daughter with reporters as she spoke, pointing out images of her sitting next to Santa Claus in Abu Dhabi and on the beach with her family in Alexandria.

“She loved going to school wearing new clothes for celebrations like Christmas,” Fadlallah recalled. In Aya’s second year of university, however, Fadlallah said that their daughter swapped her trousers and t-shirts for conservative clothes and a headscarf.

“She just went into a shell, into her own world which was hidden from us,” said Fadlallah. “When we asked her who was behind this, she told us, ‘Now I know my God.’”

Together with four other female friends from Khartoum, Aya reportedly snuck into Libya by road. Once there, she married a Sudanese ISIS fighter who Yousef said had attended her university in Khartoum.

After first hearing about his granddaughter’s existence, Yousef confessed, his first reaction was to refuse the Sudanese officials who had offered to escort him into Libya to collect her.

“I’d lost my daughter,” he said. “What was the point of bringing the baby here?”

But after a few days, he said he changed his mind. In February, baby Lojien joined his family in Sudan.

“We have a major responsibility,” said Yousef, adding that the presence of the infant had helped soften the blow of their daughter’s death. “Lojien is very dear to us. She is Aya’s daughter and Aya was special.”

Read the full story at Yahoo News.


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