One of the two men who murdered a British soldier in London on Wednesday was arrested in Kenya in 2010 on suspicion of trying to join Islamist militants fighting in Somalia, it emerged tonight. Michael Adebolajo was thought to have been trying to link up with the militant group al-Shabab. He received ‘consular assistance’ from the UK foreign office before being deported.
It has already been revealed that both of the men who killed Drummer Lee Rigby close to his barracks in Woolwich were known to the security services, and the latest reports will raise new questions about why Adebolajo was not more closely monitored by the police and MI5, and whether he could have been prosecuted for terrorist activity.
There have also been claims that Adebolajo was approached by the British security services, and that they attempted to recruit him as an informant. Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale remain under police guard in hospital after being shot by police following Drummer Rigby’s murder, and four other men have been arrested in connection with the attack.
Meanwhile, on the day that Drummer Rigby’s family visited the scene of his murder, Prime Minister David Cameron was criticized for flying to Spain for a holiday with his family while so many questions about the attack remain unanswered.
Also today, the British Home Secretary said a task force would be set up to determine if new laws were needed to counter the radicalization of young Muslim men in mosques and universities, amid concerns that little progress has been made in combating extremism since the London bus and subway bombings in 2005.
Any new measures are sure to be opposed by civil liberties and human rights campaigners, but the government is likely to be able to count on widespread public support for tougher measures following Wednesday’s horrific events, and the subsequent revelations about the killers that suggest they could have, and perhaps should have, been apprehended well before they carried out the attack.
While the security services may have been at fault with regard to Drummer Rigby’s killers, however, the police have displayed rather more alacrity when it comes to rounding up members of the public for making anti-Muslim comments on social media.