Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Terror suspect evades UK police, wearing a burqa

05 November 2013, 14:40

London - The British government defended its terror prevention measures on Monday after a Somali-born suspect escaped surveillance by putting on a burqa during a visit to a mosque.

Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, aged 27, who was subject to an order restricting his movements, entered a mosque in London on Friday wearing Western-style clothes but CCTV images showed him leaving disguised as a woman, with his face and body fully covered.

He is understood to have received training and fought overseas for the Somalia-based al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda-linked militants who launched the attack on a Nairobi shopping mall in September in which at least 67 people were killed.

British newspapers on Tuesday reported that Mohamed was trying to join up with terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite.

The British woman, also known as the White Widow, is wanted for alleged terror offences in Kenya.

She is the widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of four Islamist suicide bombers who attacked the London transport network on 7 July 2005, killing 52 people.

Not a direct threat

The Times also reported that Mohamed had been cleared of tampering with his electronic monitoring tag on the day of his disappearance.

Home Secretary Theresa May, the interior minister, said that the suspect did not pose a "direct threat" to Britain.

"The police and Security Service have confirmed that they do not believe that this man poses a direct threat to the public in the UK.

"The reason he was put on a TPIM in the first place was to prevent his travel to support terrorism overseas," she said in a statement to parliament.

Mohamed is under a Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) notice, which was imposed primarily to prevent overseas travel.

He is the second person to breach such an order since Prime Minister David Cameron's government introduced them to replace control orders in early 2012. They allow suspects to live in public but under stringent restrictions.

Need answers

Another suspect, Ibrahim Magag, tore off his electronic tag and vanished in a taxi last December. He has not been seen since.

A spokesperson for Cameron said that the government would "look at whether there are lessons that can be learned" following the latest disappearance.

Yvette Cooper, home affairs spokesperson for the main opposition Labour party, described the situation as "extremely serious" and demanded answers from the government on how Mohamed was able to abscond.

"The home secretary also needs to provide information about the decisions made over Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed's TPIM, how he was able to abscond and what the risks to the public are," she said.

Ban the Burka

It is believed Mohamed attended a training camp in 2008 and is understood to have helped people travel to Britain from Somalia to allow them to engage in terror-related activity.

He is also believed to have procured weapons for terror use.

One lawmaker from Cameron's Conservative party said the incident reinforced the need for a ban on face-covering burkas and niqabs, like France and some other European countries have introduced.

Gerald Howarth called on May to "have the burqa banned in this country because it is alien to our culture, and has enabled this man to abscond".

But May said she believed that women should be able to wear what they wanted.

There has been a growing debate in Britain about Muslim women wearing face-covering garments and the government has said it may consider a ban in schools and courts of law.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Advice from a young married Kenya...

I was just going to get water in the office kitchen and thought a simple hi was fine until I ended up in an hour long conversation with someone. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Helping you find the type of man ...

To put it simply, you can’t go looking for fish in a meat market; you have to go to a fish market. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Decision to leave ODM for Jubilee...

The decision to leave ODM for Jubilee is final, an MP has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
ODM accuses Jubilee Party of usin...

ODM claims that the Jubilee Party is using state resources to campaign in west Pokot. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
STATEMENT: Uhuru on Mandera attac...

President Uhuru Kenyatta speaks to Kenyans after Mandera Shabaab attacks leave 12 dead. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Mudavadi set for 2 month long wes...

Musalia Mudavadi is set for western Kenya campaigns.