Samantha Lewthwaite: The truth about the British terror suspect
SAMANTHA Lewthwaite, 28, is being sought by the CIA, Scotland Yard, Kenyan Police and more agencies of justice. Samantha Lewthwaite is from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. She is the widow of Jermaine Lindsay, who killed himself and 26 passengers on a Piccadilly Line train in July 2005.
It is alleged that she is a terrorist, a mum of three funded by Somali pirates and training local Islamists how to make bombs in readiness for an attack on Western targets in East Africa.
She is suspected of being a paymaster, scout and reciter for the al-Shabaab terror group, part of the al-Qaeda network.
The Times reports:
The police hunt began when they uncovered a “bomb factory” in one of the safe houses allegedly used by Ms Lewthwaite, in the Indian Ocean port of Mombasa. They had received a tip-off that a terrorist cell was planning a Christmas and new year bombing campaign of resorts popular with British and American tourists.
Jermaine Grant, 29, from Newham, East London, was arrested on the night of December 19 while walking in the ghetto of Bakarani, a notorious stronghold of Islamic extremists. He was with his new wife, Warda Breik Islam.
Searches of a nearby house uncovered stores of hydrogen peroxide, the basis for the explosives used by the 7/7 bombers, and wires and batteries used to detonate the improvised devices. Police believe that the ramshackle house was also the al-Shabaab “bank” where fighters received payments from Ms Lewthwaite for operations.
Mrs Lewthwaite is not only suspected of being an Islamist and a terrorist. She’s – gulp! – suspected of being an international banker.
Several days later police, members of Kenya’s national security service and special forces raided another nearby safe house. Officials have claimed that when police arrived at the property Ms Lewthwaite had already left after receiving a tip-off. But it emerged yesterday that they found her at the house but allegedly left when she claimed to be a South African called Natalie Faye Webb. It has since been suggested that Ms Lewthwaite may have bribed officers to secure her release.
One neighbour said: “We knew her as ‘the white woman’ who was very secretive. She went to the mosque a lot and would not let her children attend school.”
She was living in a five-bedroom villa in Shanzu, close to the White Sands Beach Resort and the Serena Beach Club. Were they the intended targets? O
Officers discovered a smashed laptop computer with the hard drive removed, magazines for an AK47 automatic rifle, more than 100 large-calibre rounds, detonators and a photograph of Ms Lewthwaite.
The home was rented by man calling himself Marco Costa, 29. He might be Habib Ghani, who is originally from Hounslow, West London. He has a Kenyan mother and Pakistani father.
It’s an odd story, isn’t it? A woman married to a known killer moves to east Africa and becomes a suspect in aborted acts of terrorism.
The Daily Mail wonders:
SPECIAL INVESTIGATION: Is Samantha ‘innocent’ widow of 7/7 bomber really an Al Qaeda terrorist?
Well, the police and courts should decided that.
Samantha Lewthwaite is the middle-class soldier’s daughter who had two children by bomber Lindsay….
They discovered it was a ‘bank’ where the woman pictured in the passport handed out hundreds of thousands of dollar bills to her associates. The nondescript house was also a bomb-making factory, containing batteries, hydrogen peroxide and wires. Police initially said they would not confirm that the woman they were hunting was Miss Lewthwaite, as it could be a case of mistaken identity. But they have now issued photographs of her to every border point.
Not exactly undercover was she:
Lewthwaite is believed to be on the run with fellow British terror suspect Habib Ghani, 26, from Hounslow, Middlesex — who police describe as ‘very dangerous’ and who goes by the name Osama.
A suspected terrorist going incognito under the name Osama? What happend to Marco Costa? The Mail makes no mention of that name. Osama is much more suggestive. The paper then delivers a potted history of the wanted woman:
Whatever the truth, the Samantha Lewthwaite of today bears little resemblance to the Home Counties girl — the daughter of a British soldier — who used to put on a tiara and jewellery to go to school discos in the Nineties.
Well, she has grown up.
The youngest of three children, she was born in Banbridge, Co. Down, in 1983, to her mother, Christine, and soldier father, Andrew, who was serving in Northern Ireland. Her parents moved to Aylesbury, but separated when she was 11, leaving her devastated. Friends have even suggested the separation is the key event that drove her to seek comfort in Islam.
…by the time she was 17, the soldier’s daughter had converted to Islam, was covering her hair in a hijab, changed her name to Asmantara, and was readying herself to marry the man who would go on to take part in the 7/7 attacks. After learning about the Muslim faith in religious studies lessons at school, the teenager told friends she was converting. Within two years, she was wearing the jilbab, the long gown that covers everything but the hands and face.
While studying for a degree in religion and politics at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London she met Jamaican-born Jermaine Lindsay, a fellow Muslim convert, through an Islamic chatroom. In October 2002 they married in an Islamic ceremony in Aylesbury.
In 2004 their first son was born, which is when she says her husband first started to spend time at radical mosques in London, Luton and Yorkshire. She has said she believes his mind was poisoned by these visits because before this he had been a ‘peaceful man’.
The Belfast Telegraph says Lewthwaite did not change her name to Asmantara:
Samantha changed her name to Sherafiyah after converting to Islam, aged 17,
The Daily Star says otherwise:
Lewthwaite, who converted to Islam at 15, is thought to have fled with bomb fuses and cash.
The Telegraph had earlier reported:
Lindsay had met Miss Lewthwaite, the daughter of a former soldier in the Ninth Lancers, when he moved to Aylesbury, Bucks. She had Muslim friends at Grange Secondary School and, at the age of 17, converted to Islam, calling herself Sherafiyah, and wearing the hijab
The New York Times says they met at college:
Three years ago, he met Lewthwaite, who is now 22, at a college in Luton.
The BBC noted:
He married Samantha Lewthwaite, a white British convert to Islam he had met on the internet and later at a Stop the War march in London, on 30 October 2002.
Lindsay married another convert to Islam, Samantha Lewthwaite, after meeting via an internet chatroom.
The Telegraph has more of Ghani:
Ghani, grew up in Hounslow, west London and worshipped at the same mosque as the first British suicide bomber Asif Hanif, who blew himself up in a bar in Israel in 2003.
And on that passport:
The woman is believed to have arrived in Kenya on a false South African passport in the name of Natalie Faye Webb.
The family of Miss Webb, who lives in Essex and has no connection with the alleged plot, but has dual British and South African nationality, said they have no idea how here identity came to be stolen.
Back in 2005, Samantha Lewthwaite told the BBC:
“I totally condemn and am horrified by the atrocities which occurred in London on Thursday 7 July. I am the wife of Germaine Lindsay, and never predicted or imagined that he was involved in such horrific activities. He was a loving husband and father. I am trying to come to terms with the recent events. My whole world has fallen apart, and my thoughts are with the families of the victims of this incomprehensible devastation.”
In a separate statement, Ms Lewthwaite’s father Andrew, 49, sister Sabrina, 28, brother Allan, 25, and Allan’s wife Carly, 21, also said the family had no inkling of Lindsay’s plans.
The statement offered condolences to the families of the victims, and said the family did not condone what had happened.
“Germaine had a kind, caring and calming presence about him. He was a good and loving husband and a brilliant father, who showed absolutely no sign of doing this atrocious crime. We as a family had no idea of his plans and are as horrified as the rest of the world. We are still in shock about the news we have been given and are trying to understand why anyone, never mind Germaine, would do such a thing. We plead to anyone who has information to help police with their investigations to stamp out these terrorists.”
It’s an odd story. In 2005, Lewthwaite told the Sun:
“I won’t believe it until they show me the proof. I’m not going to accept it until they have his DNA.”
So. The authorities are looking for Samantha Lewthwaite, the daughter of a British soldier who married a mass murderer and then went to live in Kenya, where she allegedly became entangled with al-Shabaab, a group with a rising profile.
“From experience, you cannot hide forever,” Matthew Iteere, Kenya’s Commissioner of Police said last night. Unless you don’t travel or you don’t leave your home — even then someone will know where you are. You can try to run, but you cannot hide forever”…
Ms Lewthwaite’s family have expressed disbelief that she would have travelled to Africa with her three children — two of which were fathered by Lindsay — to become involved with a terror cell.
However, family sources said they had lost contact with Ms Lewthwaite since the birth of her third child in 2009. They believed she had moved from her home in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, to the north of England before travelling abroad.
On Feb 29, the Times‘ Sean O’Neill wrote:
War-torn Somalia is the No 1 destination at the moment for the small band of young British Muslims who want to join the global jihad. About 50 Britons are known to have travelled there since 2006, when Islamist groups came to the fore in the East African country, with a number dying in the conflict and several others fleeing the inhospitable conditions. Intelligence assessments suggest that about 40 Britons currently are fighting in the ranks of al-Shabaab. More than half of those are young men from Somali backgrounds, but the others are a diverse group of white and black converts, men from Bangladeshi backgrounds and some with family links to the Middle East.
At the moment, the judgment on the Somali conflict is that al-Shabaab has a limited appetite to export its war — but the situation is unstable and unpredictable. The Somali Mujahidin have close links with al-Qaeda in Yemen, which does aspire to international terrorism. If al-Shabaab’s situation becomes more unstable, it may decide to lash out at its perceived enemies around the world.
That could put Britain in the frontline.
The United Nations warned last night that the Government may have left it too late to curb the terror threat from radicalised Britons trained in Somalia, as David Cameron prepared to lead an international summit on the East African nation.
About 40 Britons were believed to be among those training with the militant Islamic group al-Shabaab, making the lawless region a potentially more dangerous terrorist training ground than Afghanistan. Augustine Mahiga, the United Nations special representative for Somalia, said a summit on the “failed state” which will be attended by Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, may have missed the opportunity to protect the country from terrorist attacks.
“Britain may have acted too late on Somalia and now the threat of an attack on them from within the Somali community is significant,” he told The Sunday Times.
Somalia is by the entrance to the Red Sea. Iran has been sending its 18th Fleet up the Red Sea and through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea. Somalia, descibed as a “failed state” is a strategic hotpoint.
Such are the facts…