Portugal’s Attorney General’s office has issued arrest warrants for the country’s five most notorious jihadists who left Portugal to study in Leyton, UK, where they were radicalised. Among the five is Nero Saraiva, the 28-year-old believed to be the right-hand man of masked executioner Jihadi John. Also sought are former Sintra residents Celso and Edgar Costa and Fábio Poças, plus one other Portuguese national yet to be identified.
National and international media have been carrying stories of the five – all of whom have been fighting for Islamic State in Syria.
A Sunday Times investigation has alleged that Saraiva particularly has been involved in the making of videos of Jihadi John’s barbaric executions.
Indeed, the father-of-four is thought to have been privy to “advance information about the beheading of foreign hostages” – having tweeted 39 days before the killing of American journalist James Foley: “Message to America, the Islamic State is making a new movie. Thank u for the actors”.
Saraiva is also said to be accused of “discussing the supply of weapons to an al-Qaeda-linked group in east Africa”.
Meantime, one of the Costa brothers (Celso) came to the attention of British secret services early last year when he appeared in a video posted in an account linked to al-Qaeda in which he appealed to the people of the Ukraine, women included, to join Islamic jihadists fighting in Syria.
It is not immediately clear where any of these Portuguese nationals are at the moment, but former architecture student Poças was quoted by Sábado recently as vowing to return to Europe “to continue the jihad”.