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When a terrorist was freed to butcher

By By Peter Nguli | May 28th 2013

By Peter Nguli

In May 2013, Kenya's security sleuths and anti-terrorist police apparatus got a notch higher and became the envy of the world, thanks to their hard work and monitoring capability. 

On Wednesday 22nd Britain was shocked by one of the most gruesome and horrific murders on the Island in recent times. In what is now called 'the Butcher of Woolwich', a man was seen in the streets of Woolwich, London, ranting anti-western overtones with bloodied hands, brandishing a butcher's meat cleaver in one hand still dripping with blood. Behind him lay the body of a young British soldier he had just beheaded and stubbed several times after running over him with a car. Opposite him was his accomplice holding a bloody knife on one hand and a revolver on the other. Astonishingly, the men walked slowly around the body guarding it. They didn't want to flee; they were asking pedestrians to film them on their mobile phones like journalists do, while they ranted their anti-western overtones behind the mobile screens calmly waiting for police to arrive. They were even engaging passersby in conversations trying to justify their evil acts till police arrived, shot them at their legs and arrested them. The 'Woolwich butcher' brandishing a meat cleaver in surreal scenes reminscent of Hollywood films is one, named Michael Adebolajo, a black 28 year old British-born Muslim convert of Nigerian origin who had entered Kenya with a different identity. 

It follows that in November 2010, Michael Adebolajo with five other Kenyan youth were arrested in Kenya while on a suspicious jihadist mission to cross the border into lawless Somalia and join ranks of the Al Shabaab terrorist group. 

Kenya anti-terrorist police, who had been tipped off and lay in wait, arrested them as they fled in a speed boat near Lamu on their way to Somalia. They were detained for several days before they appeared in court. As the Daily Mail in Britain reported recently, Adebolajo was eventually released due to pressure from the British Embassy who insisted he should be 'set free because he had no criminal record'. Consequently, the other Kenyan youth were also released. Adebolajo was handed over to the local British MI5. The Foreign Office confirmed recently that Adebolajo was given 'Consular Assistance'. Reportedly, Kenyan intelligence officers presented their evidence to the MI5 including Al Shabaab flags and uniform collected from the speed-boat at the time of arrest. Kenyan authorities further warned the British MI5 that Adebolajo was a 'dangerous radical', but they ignored. Eventually, Adebolajo was later deported back to Britain. The Daily Mail further reports that Adebolajo made two more attempts to enter the country, possibly through a neighbouring country but was either repulsed or fled. 

Perhaps, questions would be asked why British authorities never heeded the advice and evidence given by Kenyan security and intelligence apparatus regarding a dangerous radical who would later go on a butchering escapade terminating the life of an unarmed person in the streets of London. May be, just may be, had the British heeded Kenya's intelligence warning and arrested or put the named terrorist on surveillance, the lost soul of a loving dad of one child would have been saved. Let's hope lessons have been learned.


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