The two boys were kidnapped by their father Abebe Oboi Ferreira, an ISIS fighter, and taken to Syria in 2014.
Two brothers have been reunited with their Trinidadian mother after years of separation thanks to the help of Pink Floyd frontman, Roger Waters, local news outlets reported Tuesday.
Six thousand miles from her Caribbean home, Felicia Perkins Ferreira held her sons, Mahmud (11) and Ayyub (7) just meters from the Iraqi border for the first time in five years since their kidnapping in 2014.
The boys were whisked away to Syria by their father Abebe Oboi Ferreira, an ISIS fighter, just a day after Ayyub’s third birthday. The boys traveled the war-torn country until their father’s alleged death in 2017. Their Belgian step-mother abandoned them shortly afterwards on the side of the road where US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) found them, the telegraph reports.
Although the boys were unable to remember their mother’s name, they carried photos of her and through that, Guardian reporters were able to locate Ferreira who was living in Petit Valley just outside the capital, Port of Spain.
The costly reunion was a cause of concern for many, so NPR Reprieve’s legal director, Clive Stafford Smith, contacted his friend, Waters, certain the rockstar would cover the expenses due to his past charitable ventures.
Waters went above and beyond, sending his personal jet to transport the distraught mother to her children in Iraq and advocating with the Trinidadian government for new passports on the boys’ behalf.
In a letter to Newsday newspaper last month, Waters wrote, “Clive and I will do the work. I will fund their flights. But Trinidad must give us travel documents to allow them to come home. It is depressing to read in these pages that the government does not seem to care about the two children.”
To the press, Perkins-Ferreira expressed her gratitude for the abundance of help she’d received from so many people over the last few months: “I’m really, really grateful and I wish I could meet them all in one and embrace them.”
The boys are being transported to London where they will enter a rehabilitation program courtesy of Reprieve before boarding a final plane back to Trinidad.
“We’re going to make sure that they get on with a really productive, decent life,” said Stafford Smith.