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Somali police are holding Clive Dennis, 45, from London, on suspicion of entering the country illegally and plotting to join Islamic radicals waging a war to control the country according to a strict interpretation of Islam.
Mr Dennis, who was reportedly born in Jamaica, appeared unaware that his smoking, short Rastafarian-style dreadlocks and earrings would have marked him out as a delinquent in the eyes of al-Shabaab's religious commanders.
He was allegedly found to be carrying hashish in his luggage, which would likely have brought him an instant death sentence if he had managed to make contact with the jihadists.