West Norfolk teen who travelled to Syria is working in hospital, near Turkish border, family say

Lena Mamoun

Lena Mamoun

A west Norfolk teenager who travelled to war-torn Syria in the spring is working at a hospital near the Turkish border, according to her family.

Lena Mamoun Abdel-Gadir, 19, whose father is a surgeon at King's Lynn's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, travelled to Syria in March, after reportedly flying to Istanbul from Sudan, where she was studying, and then crossing the border.

The former Wisbech Grammar School pupil, who was studying at Khartoum medical school, was one of nine British medical students believed to have gone to hospitals controlled by Islamic State in Syria to help wounded people.

Political leaders feared at the time that the group may have been radicalised by militants.

But her family has issued a statement which said: 'Lena endures as a loving daughter, a doting sister and a caring member of our community.


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'Watching the identity of someone so close to our hearts being violated has remained the tragedy that never ends.

'We recently met our MP, Henry Bellingham with a request that we have a meeting with the Foreign Office minister.

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'We are aware of the fact that she is working in a hospital in a town adjacent to the Turkish border and we are confident that pressure from various governments will lead to more information becoming available.

'We would like to take the time to thank our friends, colleagues and the wider community for being so steadfast and sensitive to our ordeal.

'We could not ask for anymore, only the hope of good fortune and that we maintain the dignity of privacy during this difficult time.'

After the teenager disappeared, members of her family travelled to Turkey with other parents in an unsuccessful bid to get the students back.

Miss Abdel-Gadir, from Ashwicken, near King's Lynn, attended Wisbech Grammar School, a £12,000-a-year independent school in Cambridgeshire, for nine years.

As a young girl, she was a pupil at Magdalene House, the preparatory school, and left the senior school at the end of Year 11.

Headmaster Chris Staley described her as 'bright, dynamic and academically-focused'. She also held various responsibilities and participated in school activities.

She went straight to medical school in the Sudan after achieving straight A and A* grades in her GCSEs. Medical students usually continue to A-Levels, but she excelled academically and gained a place at a Sudanese university.

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