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Samantha Lewthwaite is married to a former officer in the Kenyan NavyAbdi Wahid was in Afghanistan protecting westerners from the TalibanWhile she is wanted, he can travel freely and is currently in EuropeLewthwaite has made several calls to woman described as her ‘aunt’,
Called ‘aunt’ at address in Solihull from Kenya as many as 42 times
Samantha Lewthwaite – the ‘White Widow’ being hunted in the wake of the Nairobi mall massacre – is secretly married to a former officer in the Kenyan Navy, a confidential Scotland Yard file on her reveals.
The dossier throws new light on the shadowy world of the mother of four who converted to Islam as a schoolgirl and is now the world’s most wanted woman.
As well as being the suspected mastermind behind the Westgate mall attack, which killed 67 people and left 71 missing and 200 injured, she is sought for earlier plots in her role as a major player in Al Qaeda’s Somali offshoot, Al Shabaab.
Muslim convert Lewthwaite, 29, widow of 7/7 suicide bomber Jermaine Lindsay, left Britain for Africa with her children in 2009 and has been on the run for 20 months.
But a Mail on Sunday investigation can reveal that her current husband – a man named Abdi Wahid who in his 40s – has been free to travel as he wishes, and is currently in continental Europe.
Wahid was arrested in 2011 when police discovered that his house in the coastal city of Mombasa had been turned into a potential bomb factory by Lewthwaite and her associates. He was never charged with any offence.
Exactly how much he knew of his wife’s clandestine activities is not clear but detectives now believe he could hold the key to unlocking her network of terror.
It is not known exactly when their marriage took place, but Lewthwaite had evidently left her old life in Britain behind by then and was deeply involved with Al Shabaab.
Police say Wahid is likely to have a better knowledge of Lewthwaite’s travels and contacts and, most of all, her possible current whereabouts than anyone.
His relationship with Lewthwaite has baffled detectives, given his military background and because he once worked as a private security officer in Afghanistan, guarding westerners against attack from the Taliban.
Previously he has been described as Lewthwaite’s ‘landlord’ at one of two houses where she stayed in Mombasa until she came to police attention in January 2012.
But the dossier leaves no room for doubt that Lewthwaite is or was ‘married to’ Wahid, making his freedom to travel at will all the more surprising. It is believed he has another Muslim wife in Mombasa.
Lewthwaite’s two elder children, nine-year-old Abdullah and Ruqayyah, eight, both by Lindsay, have the middle names Shaheed and Shahidah, respectively, which means ‘martyr’ in the male and female form, according to the police data.
It is not clear who fathered her two younger children, four-year-old Abdur-Rahman and Surajah, three, though it is believed that at one stage Lewthwaite was in a relationship with another British Al Shabaab recruit, Hounslow-born Habib Saleh Ghani, 28. He is thought to have been killed earlier this month in Somalia following a gunfight with a rival group.
The police file, codenamed Operation Unigof, includes an ‘association chart’. At its centre are Lewthwaite and British terror suspect Jermaine Grant, 30, from Newham, East London. He is a Muslim convert who knew Lewthwaite’s husband Lindsay, and is currently on trial in Mombasa on explosives charges.
There are extensive details of all the mobile phone numbers linked with Lewthwaite, along with calls she has made to a woman, described in a police file as her ‘aunt’, at an address in Solihull, Birmingham.
Last week the woman, who recently married, was on holiday and could not be contacted. Exactly what her relationship is to Irish-born Lewthwaite, the daughter of a Northern Irish Catholic mother and a British soldier, is unclear, but there is no suggestion she had anything to do with her activities.
The police document suggests that Lewthwaite may have called the ‘aunt’ from Kenya as many as 42 times – the last four in November 2011 and January 2012, shortly before she went on the run. All the calls went to voicemail.
The Yard file was compiled in the days following Lewthwaite’s narrow escape from police in 2011, a story that can now be revealed fully for the first time.
The first arrest in the chain of events came in December 2011 when Grant was detained with another man at the Mombasa house owned by Abdi Wahis, a few miles from the house Lewthwaite was living in.
At Grant’s place, police found ingredients needed to make a bomb – hydrogen peroxide and ammonium nitrate, as well as batteries and electrical switches.
A Kenyan Police source told The Mail on Sunday that after being held in a cell without food for three days, Grant finally talked.
He told the officers that they should be talking to his ‘boss’ – a white woman – and supplied addresses, including the property where Lewthwaite was staying.
Sharing the other house with Lewthwaite was Nassim Salim, 27, the widow of Mussa Hussein Abdi, an Al Qaeda agent killed in Mogadishu in 2011. Yet when officers raided the house, Lewthwaite convinced them that she was a South African named Natalie Faye Webb. She had a bogus passport, obtained by using another woman’s birth certificate.
A bag of money with thousands of pounds worth of assorted foreign currencies was also found at the house, but even that wasn’t suspicious enough to persuade the police to bring her in.
Instead, they took a copy of the passport and left. When they updated Scotland Yard, one of the London detectives realised that the woman posing as Natalie Webb was Lewthwaite.
The Kenyans returned to the house the next day, but she had gone.
Before her escape she had tried to destroy her laptop by smashing it, but a few days later a Metropolitan Police unit was able to retrieve vital data from it. Among photographs on the laptop was one of her holding a baby. It is believed to show her youngest child Surajah, born in July 2010.
In another photograph an unidentified man – possibly the father – is seen holding the baby.
Also found was an exercise book in which Lewthwaite had begun writing a book, based on interviews with fellow ‘Mujahideen’.
She related how she had asked her elder children what they wanted to be when they grew up and both answered ‘holy warriors’.
Further investigations showed that Lewthwaite had entered Kenya from Tanzania on February 26, 2011, and that in 2010 and 2011 she had spent several months in Johannesburg working as an IT specialist at a Halal meat factory, posing as Natalie Webb. The real Natalie Webb is a nurse who emigrated from South Africa to Essex.
The last recorded use of the false passport was in February 2011, before it was cancelled – the month that Lewthwaite entered Kenya. l Samantha Lewthwaite’s mother, Christine Allen, is desperate to see her grandchildren, her extended family have said.
Her plea came through Jermaine Lindsay’s mother, Maryam Mcleod Ismaiyl, who told The Mail on Sunday yesterday: ‘I have not heard from [Samantha] since 2009. I spoke to her mother via email and she said she had not heard from her either.
‘Her mother is very upset and she wants to see her grandchildren.’
Speaking from her home in Grenada, Mrs Ismaiyl added: ‘Samantha was married to my son. She tried to help keep me in contact with my grandchildren but we would only speak briefly over the phone.
‘She appeared to become stranger after his funeral. Now I have no idea where they are.’
She added: ‘These people in Kenya who carried out this criminal behaviour will get their punishment and they should, because criminal behaviour is not Islamic behaviour.’
Lewthwaite’s toxic tweets on the run
A chilling set of tweets believed to be by ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite show her taunting a rival before he was ambushed and murdered in cold blood.
The messages then show her gloating over the rival’s death, saying: ‘Can’t say I’m shedding tears’ and accepting ‘what has been dished out to him’.
Muslim convert Lewthwaite is believed to have been involved in the Nairobi terror attacks.
She has been on the run since January 2012 when she was accused of a bomb plot targeting tourist resorts in Mombasa, Kenya.
Her Twitter feed, MYC Press Office, shows her allegiance to Ahmed Abdi Godane, the new leader of the Somali terrorist group Al Shabaab, which ordered the Nairobi atrocity.
Godane – who has a £4.5 million FBI bounty on his head – was recently accused of killing rivals within his own group to assert his authority.
One was a terrorist called Omar Shafik Hammami, also known as Abu Manzoor Al-Amriki.
Al-Amriki and Lewthwaite had a Twitter spat in April, in which he dismissed her for ‘just being a girl in Kenya’.
Lewthwaite responded: ‘Yes, am a girl in Kenya like dat [that] makes a difference u misogynist.’
She then called Al-Amriki an ‘irritating, obnoxious, contemptible little muj prat’. ‘Muj’ is short for mujahideen (jihadi warrior).
Lewthwaite continued her spat with Al-Amriki, which came to a deadly end when he was ambushed in southern Somalia last month and killed.
Afterwards, Lewthwaite tweeted: ‘I’m waiting in anticipation of information on Amriki. Can’t say I’m shedding tears.’
She later added: ‘I feel a pinch of sadness but as one who believes in jihad & supports Amir Godane I accept what has been dished out to Al-Amriki.’
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