A chemistry professor at Sweden’s Lund University dispatched a team of mercenaries into an Islamic State (IS/ISIS) war zone to free one of her doctoral students and his family, The Local reported on Thursday.
Charlotta Turner, professor in Analytical Chemistry, received a text message from her student Firas Jumaah in 2014 telling her to to assume he would not finish his thesis if he had not returned within a week. He said he and his family were hiding from Islamic State fighters. Jumaah, a member of the Yazidi ethnic minority group hated by the Islamic State, had entered the war zone voluntarily after learning from his wife that Islamic State fighters had captured the village next door.
Upon learning her student was in danger, Turner contacted Lund’s then security chief, who hired a security company to arrange what ended up being a successful rescue mission for Jumaah and his wife and two children.
“It was a unique event. As far as I know no other university has ever been involved in anything like it,” said the security chief, Per Gustafson.
“I had no hope then at all,” Jumaah told Lund’s University Magazine LUM. “I was desperate. I just wanted to tell my supervisor what was happening. I had no idea that a professor would be able to do anything for us.”
“What was happening was completely unacceptable,” she told LUM. “I got so angry that IS was pushing itself into our world, exposing my doctoral student and his family to this, and disrupting the research.”