Tuesday 21 January 2020

White Widow fled flat days before Kenyan police swooped

Samantha Lewthwaite also known as 'The White Widow'.
Samantha Lewthwaite also known as 'The White Widow'.

Mike Pflanz

SAMANTHA LEWTHWAITE fled a flat overlooking a Nairobi shopping centre in tears just days before Kenya's intelligence services raided the property in July 2011.

The British terror suspect, known as the White Widow, was in such a hurry to leave that she threatened a staff member who would not open the exit gate, saying she would "kill him" and "cut him", a worker at the apartment complex said.

The property, which she was renting at the time, stands less than 100 yards from The Junction, a large mall very similar to Nairobi's Westgate centre, the scene of last month's terrorist attack by al-Shabaab. Her three-bedroom flat, B7, directly overlooked the shopping centre, which is popular with expatriates and middle-class Kenyans.

Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for Lewthwaite over her terrorist links. It is feared she may have been involved in planning the Westgate atrocity.

The Junction may have been another potential target.

Ms Lewthwaite visited the mall regularly with her four children and a man who lived with her who went by the name of "Nick". He is believed to be her husband Abdi Wahid, a Kenyan former Navy officer who is the father of her youngest child.

"All of them left in a hurry one day, she was crying, she was so upset, she said that her mother had died and she had to go back to her country," the worker at the complex said.

THREAT

"They packed their belongings and when I stopped her at the gate while checks were made that they owed no money to the landlord, she became so angry. She threatened to kill me, to cut me up in pieces."

The worker, who did not want to be named, said Ms Lewthwaite rented the third-floor flat from February to July 2011, and paid the equivalent of e600 a month.

Lewthwaite's husband, who the worker immediately identified as "Nick" from recent photographs taken after the birth of their child in South Africa, asked repeated questions about people who visited the nearby shopping centre.

"He asked me about it, whether there were Europeans, whites, who went there, whether there were a lot of Muslims who went there," the worker said.

"He said he was working for Interpol in France and needed the information for an investigation. I had no reason to disbelieve him."

Four days after the family fled, officers from the Special Branch of Kenya's National Security and Intelligence Service raided the apartment.

"It was only then that I came to learn that she was a wanted terrorist," the worker said. "She was sometimes very rude to people when she lived here.

It was not clear why or where the family fled in July 2011. Lewthwaite's Kenyan visa expired at the end of August. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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