Interpol launches global hunt for British ‘White Widow’
Interpol launches global hunt for British ‘White Widow’
Samantha Lewthwaite, a 29-year-old Muslim convert, was married to Germaine Lindsay, one of four suicide bombers who attacked the London transport network on July 7, 2005, killing 52 people.
The Interpol red notice issued Thursday at Kenya’s request says the mother-of-three is “wanted by Kenya on charges of being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December 2011.”
The notice did not specifically mention the deadly four-day mall siege in Nairobi by Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked Shabab movement.
However it follows widespread media speculation over Lewthwaite’s possible role in the attack which left 67 victims dead, a toll expected to rise as more bodies are discovered.
Kenya’s foreign minister said a British woman was among the Westgate Mall attackers although President Uhuru Kenyatta later said the reports could not be confirmed.
Interpol issued four color photographs of Lewthwaite along with the arrest notice. One shows her with long dark hair and pouting at the camera, while the other three show her wearing the headscarf in various poses.
Interpol’s notice, which requires member states to detain the suspect pending extradition, said Kenyan authorities wanted other member nations to be “aware of this danger posed by this woman, not just across the region but also worldwide.”
It said Lewthwaite had previously only been wanted “at the national level for alleged possession of a fraudulently obtained South African passport.”
Britain’s Metropolitan Police and Foreign Office refused to comment, saying it was a matter for Interpol and the Kenyan authorities.
The global hunt was launched as Kenya on Thursday began burying the victims of the mall massacre by gunmen, as police pleaded for patience while searchers combed the charred rubble of the devastated complex for dozens still missing.
The daughter of a British soldier, Samantha Louise Lewthwaite professed herself appalled when her Jamaican-born husband detonated a rucksack full of explosives and blew himself up on a London Underground train at Russell Square station in 2005, killing 26 people.
She was pregnant with their second child at the time.
“I totally condemn and am horrified by the atrocities which occurred in London,” she said, describing Lindsay as “a good and loving husband and a brilliant father, who showed absolutely no sign of doing this atrocious crime”.
Lewthwaite had met Lindsay in an Internet chat forum when she was 17, having converted to Islam two years earlier.
Described as a bubbly teenager, schoolfriends said she had an ordinary upbringing, first in Northern Ireland and then in the market town of Aylesbury, northwest of London.
Britain’s press has been fascinated by Lewthwaite’s story, and The Sun on Friday ran the headline “Angel-faced British girl who last night became World’s Most Wanted” across its front-page.
The paper also reported that she was being probed by the FBI.
Investigations have begun to lift the veil on Lewthwaite’s shadowy movements since the London bombings.
South Africa said on Thursday that Lewthwaite had gained a South African passport using the assumed identity Natalie Faye Webb and that the document was canceled in 2011.
She had first entered the country in 2008. She was accompanied by her three children, a girl and two boys, who would now be roughly aged between seven and 12.
Media reports this week cited credit records as showing that “Natalie Faye Webb” had at least three addresses in Johannesburg and ran up debts of $8,600 (6,400 euros).
Two neighbors in the leafy Johannesburg suburb of Bromhof told AFP they recognised Lewthwaite’s picture.
Herbie Ullbricht, 69, who lived two houses away from her address cited in credit reports, said the woman lived there in “2010 or 2011” with her three children, and she was always dressed from head to toe in a hijab.
Earlier this month Kenyan authorities accused her of working with another suspected Jermaine Grant, a British, who is on trial in Kenya accused of links to Shabab and of plotting attacks.
Grant was arrested in December 2011 in the port city of Mombasa with various chemicals, batteries and switches, which prosecutors say he planned to use to make explosives.
It is believed Lewthwaite was involved in the alleged plan to bomb a number of tourist resorts on Kenya’s coast and has been on the run for months, with reported sightings of her in Somalia.
Raffaello Pantucci, a terror expert at Britain’s Royal United Services Institute, said Lewthwaite had acquired a “semi-mythical status.”
“I don’t think we’ve had any concrete evidence of her being involved in this incident,” he said. “But the fact of her being mentioned in this context is not surprising because of her connections.”
Rao Anwar found ‘responsible’ of Naqeeb Mehsud’s murder
- Suspended police superintendent responsible for death of Naqeeb Mehsud, an aspiring Pashtun model, in fake police encounter in Karachi
- The suspended officer has challenged the constitution of JIT sans representatives of intelligence agencies, armed forces
KARACHI: Rao Anwar, who was remanded in custody on Saturday, has been found responsible for the murder of Naqeebullah Mehsud, an aspiring Pashtun model from the country’s tribal region.
Mehsud was killed in a fake police encounter on Jan. 12 this year.
“Rao Anwar has been found guilty,” a senior official who is part of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) probing Anwar, told Arab News.
The apex court on March 24 had formed a JIT headed by Aftab Ahmed Pathan, Additional IG Sindh, to probe the incident. The JIT comprised Waliullah Dal, Additional IG Special Branch; Azad Ahmed Khan, DIG South; Zulfiqar Larik, DIG East; and Dr. Rizwan Ahmed, SSP Central Karachi.
The official, who requested anonymity, told Arab News that the JIT report will be produced in the court once signed by all of its members.
Anwar was presented today before the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) in Karachi on Saturday which sent him on judicial remand to prison till May 2, prosecutor Zafar Solangi told Arab News.
When asked for a comment upon his appearance at the ATC, Anwar said: “I have challenged the JIT and I don’t accept its findings.”
He further claimed: “I have not recorded any statement before this JIT.”
On April 5, Anwar filed a petition praying for the inclusion of representatives of “the intelligence agencies, armed forces and civil armed forces.”
Anwar claimed that the inclusion of the members from intelligence agencies and armed forces was required by law.
The police officer was brought to the court amid tight security arrangements, where he was produced along with 11 other accused.
Investigation officer, SSP Dr. Rizwan Ahmed, who is also part of the JIT probing the incident, told the court that investigations are underway and the JIT’s report will be presented before the court once it was finalized. He sought a week for the submission of the report.
Anwar was given into 30-day police custody upon the last court hearing.
Anwar, who is accused of killing Mehsud in a fake police encounter, claims that the slain Pashtun model was an active member of banned terrorist outfits Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Al Qaeda, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). However, the evident subsequently began to pile up against the police team involved in his killing.
Following the incident, a formal inquiry was launched against Anwar. As pressure mounted on him, he decided to go underground and even made a botched attempt to fly out of Pakistan.
He also wrote a few letters to the Supreme Court after the top court began a suo motu hearing of Naqeebullah’s murder, telling the judges that the system was heavily stacked against him and he was not hopeful of getting any justice in the case.
In response, the country’s top court decided to grant him some relief, asking him to surrender himself and let the law take its course.
The court was also willing to reconstitute a joint investigation team to look into Naqeebullah’s killing since the absconding police officer had voiced concern over its composition.
Authorities froze Anwar’s accounts after his repeated non-appearance before the court.
In a surprise move last month, the absconding police officer came to the court in a white car. He was clad in a black dress and wore a medical mask to cover his face.
Anwar’s lawyer told the chief justice that his client had “surrendered” and wanted protective bail. However, the Supreme Court turned down the request and ordered the law enforcement authorities to lock up the former SSP.