Three further arrests over Rigby murder

Sunday 26 May 2013 22.46
Drummer Lee Rigby was hit by a car and then attacked with weapons including a knife and a meat cleaver
Drummer Lee Rigby was hit by a car and then attacked with weapons including a knife and a meat cleaver

Detectives in the UK have made three further arrests in connection with the killing of soldier Lee Rigby.

Two men, aged 24 and 28, were detained at an address in south-east London yesterday, while a 21-year-old man was arrested in the street in Charlton Lane, Greenwich, all on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.

Police from the Counter Terrorism Command, supported by specialist firearms officers, used Tasers to detain two of them, the 21 and 28-year-old. They did not need hospital treatment.

Meanwhile, one of the suspects in the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby was arrested near the Somali border in Kenya in 2010, the country's anti-terrorism police said today.

Anti-terrorism unit head Boniface Mwaniki told the Associated Press that Michael Adebolajo was believed to have been preparing to train and fight with the al Qaida-linked Somali militant group al-Shabab.

He said Adebolajo was arrested with five others, and later deported.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman confirmed that a British National was arrested in Kenya in 2010.

"FCO provided consular assistance as normal for British nationals," she said.

Downing Street has confirmed the launch of a new terror task force to crack down on extremism.

The group, comprising Cabinet ministers and top police and security service officials, will focus on radical preachers who seek out potential recruits in prisons, schools, colleges and mosques.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has also announced that the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) will carry out an investigation following the disclosure that the two men suspected of murdering Drummer Rigby - identified as Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale, 22 - were known to MI5.

Police last night refused to comment on reports that Adebowale was arrested two months ago.

The latest arrests in London occurred between 6pm and 6.30pm, and the three men are being held at a south London police station, Scotland Yard said.

Officers were last night searching four addresses in south-east London.

Searches have also taken place at three other addresses in south London, one in east London, one in north London and one in Saxilby, Lincolnshire, the former home of Adebolajo.

A 29-year-old man arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder has now been released on bail, police said last night.

Two women aged 29 and 31 have been released without charge after they were held on Thursday on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, and a number of other people not directly involved with the attack have been charged over malicious comments made on social networking sites.

Adebolajo and Adebowale remain in a stable condition in hospital after being shot by police when they charged towards armed officers in Woolwich on Wednesday.

Mr Rigby was hit by a car and then attacked with weapons including a knife and a meat cleaver.

The cause of his death has not yet been confirmed by a post-mortem examination.

The young father's murder has provoked a backlash of anger across the country, with mosques being attacked, widespread racial abuse and comments on social media and a large increase in anti-Muslim incidents.

French attack 'bears hallmarks of terrorism'

The stabbing of a French soldier near Paris by a man who is still on the run bore the hallmarks of Islamist terrorism, the interior minister said, while and police said it may have been inspired by the Woolwich murder.

Anti-terrorism investigators are hunting for a bearded man aged about 30, possibly of North African origin, who fled into a crowded train station after attacking the 23-year-old soldier from behind with a knife or a box-cutter on Saturday.

"There are indeed elements that lead us to believe it (the French attack) could be an act of terrorism," Interior Minister Manuel Valls told France 5 television. "I won't say any more at this stage as the investigation is only beginning."

Police union UNSA spokesman Christophe Crepin said there were similarities with the British attack.

"I think this person wanted to imitate what happened in London," he told Itele television, echoing the defence minister who said the soldier had been targeted because of his uniform.