Wellington - A New Zealander who joined Islamic State and is now detained in a Kurdish prison will have to make his own way home if released, his country's prime minister said Monday.
Mark Taylor, nicknamed "The Bumbling Jihadi" after he revealed his location with geo-tagged Tweets in 2015, will not lose his citizenship but may face legal consequences if he returned to his home country, New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
"New Zealand has made it very clear that New Zealanders should not travel to Syria. Further, it is clear that it is unlawful to join and fight with a terrorist organisation as Mark Taylor has done," Ardern said at a press conference.
"His actions in joining Isis and travelling to Syria to fight for them has created the potential for legal ramifications in New Zealand," she added.
New Zealand's lack of a government representative in Syria meant it was severely limited in assisting its citizens.
"He would need to make his own way to a country where New Zealand has consular representation - something that in his current situation will be difficult to do," Ardern said.
New Zealand did not plan to cancel his citizenship as the government had an obligation not people stateless, Ardern added.
Taylor told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from a Kurdish prison that he fled Islamic State in December after five years with the group, surrendering to Kurdish forces because life had become unbearable.
"There was no food, no money, basic services pretty much collapsed. I was in a pickle myself and had to make a final decision, which was to leave," he said.dpa