White Widow slipped through SA intel net

2013-09-29 11:31
Samantha Lewthwaite (Picture: AFP)

Samantha Lewthwaite (Picture: AFP)

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SA possible haven for terrorists

2013-09-27 12:18

Interpol has issued an international red alert for suspected terrorist Samantha Lewthwaite, but the 'White Widow' is not the first terror suspect linked to South Africa.WATCH

Johannesburg - Samantha Lewthwaite, the alleged mastermind behind the Kenya mall attack, lived in South Africa for three years before slipping out of the country on a false passport in 2011. Since then she has managed to elude key intelligence agencies including SA, Britain and the US.

In 2010 she was flagged as a person of interest and monitored by South African intelligence units at the request of two foreign intelligence agencies, which suspected her of having links to a wanted al-Shabab bomb-maker Habib Ghani.

According to the Sunday Times, Lewthwaite, the 29-year-old mother of three, travelled in and out of the country, held down a job, rented a house and ran up debt totalling over R60 000.

Lewthwaite’s presence in the country, meanwhile, is one of a number of signs of terror group al-Shabab’s presence in the country, reports the newspaper.

The Somali-linked group, was responsible for the deaths of more than 70 people during last week’s shopping mall siege and Lewthwaite is believed to be the main financier of the attack.

Wanted

The "White Widow" was at the centre of a worldwide hunt on Friday after Interpol issued an international notice for her arrest in the wake of the Kenya shopping mall attack.

Lewthwaite, a 29-year-old Muslim convert, was married to Germaine Lindsay, one of four Islamist suicide bombers who attacked the London transport network on 7 July 2005, killing 52 people.

The Interpol red notice issued on 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 al-Shabaab movement,

However it follows widespread media speculation over Lewthwaite's possible role in the attack which left at least 70 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.


 
Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  johannesburg  |  security  |  kenya mall attack

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