By MWANIKI MUNUHE
Kenya: White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite is feared to be plotting revenge attacks for the killing of Muslim cleric Abubakar Shariff Ahmed popularly known as Makaburi.
According to a report carried yesterday in the Mirror, a UK newspaper, the late Al-Qaeda leader Makaburi is believed to have recruited hundreds of Britons – including Lewthwaite, her ally Jermaine Grant, who is on trial in Mombasa over terror related charges, and Lee Rigby’s killer Michael Adebolajo.
The Mirror also says according to a Kenyan intelligence report, Lewthwaite, 29, ordered the murder of Makaburi due to a power struggle within Al-Shabaab.
The cleric was shot dead in Mombasa on Tuesday hardly a week after he publicly declared support for terrorism.
The Mirror quotes a senior security source, who told the newspaper, “International security services are on high alert after this latest bloody development. Makaburi was always believed to be at the very top of the hierarchy of terror organisation Al-Shabaab. He had considerable influence over the recruitment and ideology of the group and most certainly had a hand in international operations.
“Intelligence suggests Makaburi introduced Samantha Lewthwaite to many influential figures within the Al-Shabaab network – he guided her path to jihad. This will be seen as yet another act of war and could spectacularly backfire on the Kenyan government if they are found to be responsible for his death.”
The Mirror source added: “Lewthwaite and her associates will want revenge.”
It is believed the pair remained close and were even in contact in recent months – despite Lewthwaite being the “world’s most wanted woman”.
White Widow, a suspect in bomb plots across East Africa, fled Britain following the death of her husband, 7/7 London suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay.
Makaburi is believed to have taken Lewthwaite in and introduced her to a network of contacts in East Africa.
After years of openly praising jihad, Makaburi was finally shot dead.
“I am not the terrorist. To me, Al-Shabaab is not the terrorist,” Makaburi is reported to have said.
The Mirror reported that Makaburi and Lewthwaite are believed to have met in 2010 in Mombasa.
When asked about his association with her, he replied: “It would be very difficult for a lady to join Al-Shabaab.”