Suspect in UK Soldier Killing Had Been Arrested in Kenya

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 26 2013 12:27 PM

Man Suspected of Killing British Soldier Had Been Arrested in Kenya

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This November 2010 photo shows Michael Adebolajo (C) among suspected members of the Al-Shabaab Movement arrested by Kenyan police on claims of being recruits on their way to Somalia to train with the al-Qaida-linked group

Photo by MICHAEL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

One of the two suspects in the killing of a British soldier in broad daylight in London had previously been arrested in Kenya in 2010 near the Somali border. Michael Adebolajo was arrested along with five other people who were allegedly trying to travel to Somalia to train with a militant group linked to al-Qaida, the head of Kenya’s anti-terrorism police unit tells the Associated Press. Adebolajo was then deported. The revelation contradicts earlier statements by Kenyan authorities but that was apparently due to confusion because the suspect was arrested under a different name, points out the BBC.

The revelation that Adebolajo had been deported to London will intensify questions over whether Britain’s spy agencies should have been keeping a closer eye on the suspect and whether more could have been done to prevent Wednesday’s killing of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, points out Reuters.

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The other suspect arrested Wednesday, 22-year-old Michael Adebowale had been stabbed in a knife attack five years ago in which he witnessed the murder of one person who had been “literally cut to pieces” by an attacker carrying a 12-inch knife, reports the Guardian. After the 2008 knife attack, Adebowale disappeared for a year and converted to Islam, according to one of his neighbors.

Meanwhile, three other men ranging in age from 21 to 28 were arrested in London Saturday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder, reports the BBC.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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