WOOLWICH murder suspect Michael Adebolajo (pictured, inset) was arrested by Kenyan authorities three years ago because they feared he was attempting to join an al-Qa'ida-linked militant group, the country's anti-terrorism police said.
Adebolajo (28) who remains in hospital following the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby (25) was arrested with five other men near the border with Somalia, police chief Boniface Mwaniki told reporters.
He said they believe Adebolajo was preparing to cross into the war-torn country to train and fight with militant group al-Shabab at the time.
The confirmation of his activities in east Africa came as his brother-in-law claimed his family had proof he was tortured "violently and sexually" after he was arrested.
"We (the family) contacted the British government and essentially, they refused to do anything and the Kenyans were saying they were going to kill him, behead him," he said.
"We had clear proof that he was being tortured ...violently and sexually.
"It seemed almost as if the British government were not co-operating in any way with him or trying to help."
He added: "I would say he's always been different since then. You could almost say he's a changed man in certain ways.
"He was a lot quieter and quite bitter."
Mr Mwaniki said that the claims of torture were untrue.
A British Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed that a British national was arrested in Kenya in 2010. A Kenyan government spokesman later said Adebolajo was arrested under a different name and taken to court before being handed to British authorities.