The London murder of British Forces drummer Lee Rigby in broad daylight on a busy street was done by at least one suspect in the Woolwich murder case known to the Kenyan police who had arrested him in Kenya in 2010, the Foreign Office has confirmed.
Michael Adebolajo, one of the suspected murderers, had been arrested in Kenya and it was believed, then, that he had been preparing to train and fight with the Somali militant group al-Shabab. Boniface Mwaniki the head of Kenya’s anti-terrorism unit told the Associated Press that Adebolajo was arrested with five others and later deported.
The Kenyan government had previously denied that Adebolajo had ever visited the country, but spokesman Muthui Kariuki said there had been some confusion because he had been arrested under a different name.
The Islamist insurgent group al-Shabab is a known affiliate of al-Qaeda and is thought to have 7,000 to 9,000 fighters. The group was responsible for the death of 76 people in a double bomb attack in Uganda during the 2010 World Cup.
The 28 year-old Adebolajo and a second man, Michael Adebowale aged 22, were arrested on suspicion of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich on Wednesday. Both men remain in custody in hospital in a stable condition after being shot and wounded by police at the scene after the killing.
Three further men, aged 21, 24 and 28, were arrested in London Saturday evening on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, a Taser was used on two of them.
Another 29-year-old man arrested earlier on suspicion of conspiracy to murder was released on bail on Saturday.
The latest information on the London murder of Drummer Lee Rigby with the revelation that at least one suspect was known by Kenyan police, will undoubtably bring up the question of tightening down immigration laws in the United Kingdom.
In an update on Sunday, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Osborne said officers were examining CCTV footage, social media and forensic material as part of their investigation into Drummer Rigby’s murder.
The Commissioner has appealed for any associates of Mr Adebolajo and Mr Adebowale who believe that they might have any useful information to come forward.
A demonstration is being held at the murder scene by members of the English Defence League today. Members of Mr Rigby’s family have visited the scene of his murder, laying flowers at the Woolwich Barracks where the 25-year-old soldier with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was based
This brutal and senseless attack on a unarmed innocent man on a public street in front of witnesses and filmed by the perpetrators has shocked the world. It has also caused tensions to escalate between the public and Islamic members of the English community and there has been an increase in “hate crime” against Muslims.
Prayers were said on Sunday at a service dedicated to Drummer Rigby at St Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, in Woolwich, at a service at the town’s St Mary Magdalene Parish Church and in his local church in his home town of Middleton, Greater Manchester.
French authorities are investigating whether the stabbing of a soldier in a Paris suburb was a copycat attack. The soldier, who was stabbed in the neck by an unknown man who escaped, is in a stable condition.
Home Secretary Theresa May early Sunday, talked to BBC’s Andrew Marr and said that, “500 officers and others” were working on the case and that included counter-terrorism officers brought in from other parts of the country.
Senior Whitehall sources had previously confirmed to the BBC that both suspects arrested at the scene of Drummer Rigby’s killing were already known to security services.
Home Secretary May responded to the question of whether security services had made mistakes in dealing with this case, she said: “What we have is the right procedures which say when things like this happen we do need to look at whether there are any lessons to be learned.”
Michael Adebowale was photographed brandishing a knife and speaking to a woman at the scene of the murder.
The Home Secretary warned that “thousands” of people are potentially at risk of radicalisation in the UK and the government have introduced “a new programme, which is not for those immediately at danger of radicalisation, but for those who are perhaps ‘further out'”.
Several senior politicians have urged the government to revive its controversial Communications Data Bill in the wake of the Woolwich murder. Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said that the government must “reach agreement on communications data so it doesn’t become a political football”, adding: “The challenges faced by the police with new technology should be addressed whilst protecting people’s freedoms.”
But with the news that officials in Kenya had known that at least one suspect in the Woolwich, London murder of drummer Lee Rigby was a potential terrorist and that he, Adebolajo, had still been allowed to enter the country; the public will be concerned at just who or what is out there on the streets of their villages and cities.
By Michael Smith