A CLOSE-KNIT community of Muslims in Newport is supporting the family of a missing teenager who vanished last month.
Nida Naseer, an 18-year-old Coleg Gwent student, has not been since she took bin bags outside her Linton Street home in Pill on December 28.
Police have described Miss Naseer’s disappearance at around 8pm that day as “a complete mystery”, as there have been no confirmed sightings of her since, and said they had grave concerns as she is without her anaemia medication.
The search for Miss Naseer will be widened once officers have identified new search areas, the Gwent Police force confirmed yesterday.
This week Miss Naseer’s family members, including 22-year-old sister Shamyla and father Naseer Tahir, appeared on national television in an emotional appeal for their sister and daughter to come home.
The family, who are Ahmadiyya Muslim asylum-seekers from Pakistan, described a heated discussion with Miss Naseer on the day she disappeared, when she became upset that her asylum status prevented her from going on to university, something she wanted to do.
A year ago the family’s application for asylum was refused and they are in the process of appealing.
Described by her sister Shamyla as “a very religious, shy and quite person”, Miss Naseer is studying for a business diploma at Coleg Gwent’s City of Newport campus after previously completing her A-levels, and hopes to become a finance or marketing manager.
When she vanished she left behind her shoes, mobile phone and anaemia medication.
Naveed Mughal, youth leader at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, which is based in Newport, helped to translate posters appealing for information about Miss Naseer into Urdu, for distribution to Newport’s Asian community, which includes an estimated 100 Ahmadiyya Muslims.
He said: “Personally I’m staying in touch with the family and have been since Miss Naseer went missing. As a community we are in regular touch. It’s a bit of a shock for us as a community, we just want her safely back to be honest, the causes of why she went are regardless at this point.”
The community is close-knit and many people have been visiting the family and offering their support and help, said Mr Mughal.
“It’s quite a mystery that no one has come forward as a witness,” he said. “So far we are happy with the progress of the investigation, we just need a positive result at the end. Where they live there are plenty of CCTV cameras around. I’m sure the police are looking into it.”
Since New Year’s Day the search, which has predominantly followed the contours of the River Usk through Newport, has taken in Rodney Parade, industrial estates in Lliswerry and around Corporation Road, and Pill Millennium Centre, but so far no trace of Miss Naseer has been seen or found.
At a press conference at Newport Central police station, Superintendent Mark Warrender said the force was running through a “substantial” amount of CCTV footage from Pill and the city centre and stressed that the case was “a priority” for Gwent Police.
The family asked for privacy from the media while the search is under way.