Is Samantha Lewthwaite really a terrorist mastermind?

Samantha Lewthwaite

BBC investigation suggests Samantha Lewthwaite, the White Widow, is unlikely to have been on the frontline of terrorism

LAST UPDATED AT 16:00 ON Wed 2 Jul 2014

A filmmaker who spent a year tracing 'White Widow' Samantha Lewthwaite has cast doubt on claims that she is the mastermind behind terrorist attacks in Kenya.

Adam Wishart has been investigating the life of Lewthwaite, an Aylesbury schoolgirl who became the world's most wanted woman. His findings will be broadcast tonight in a BBC documentary called The White Widow: Searching for Samantha.

Who is Samantha Lewthwaite?
The daughter of a British Army soldier from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, she was reportedly hit hard by her parents' separation when she was 11 and converted to Islam after taking her A-levels. Lewthwaite was branded the 'White Widow' following the death of her husband, 7 July bomber Germaine Lindsay. She met Lindsay when she was 17 and married him in 2002 when she was 18. Three years later he blew up an Underground train at King's Cross in 2005, killing himself and 26 people. At the time she claimed she was "horrified" by the atrocities. The 7/7 inquests revealed that she had gone with her husband to visit Mohammad Sidique Khan, a veteran jihadi and the ringleader of the London bombers, but it was not established how much, if anything, she ever knew about the London attacks. In 2008, she moved to South Africa where she immediately met and married her second husband, Fahmi Jamal Salim, introduced to her by the radical preacher Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal.

What is Samantha Lewthwaite accused of?
Interpol issued a "wanted person notice" for Lewthwaite in September last year, requiring its 190 member countries to apprehend her on sight. The notice stated that she was "wanted by Kenya on charges of being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December 2011". That relates to a plot to bomb tourist resorts in Kenya. Lewthwaite has been linked with al-Shabaab, the Somali militant Islamist group that claimed responsibility for last year's attack on the Westgate shopping centre in Nairobi, killing more than 65 people. At the time, she was rumoured to have played a role but no evidence emerged of her involvement and al-Shabaab insisted there were no women among the attackers.

Where is Samantha Lewthwaite now?
The White Widow, now 30, has been on the run in East Africa for the last few years. In August 2011, she travelled to Kenya using a false South African passport in the name of Natalie Faye Webb. In March last year, officials said she had fled to Somalia and that officers were hunting a woman who used several identities. She is thought to be with at least four children from three different fathers and is being sheltered in al-Shabaab territory in southern Somalia.

Is Lewthwaite really a terrorist mastermind?
Wishart's BBC documentary casts doubt on the idea that al-Shabaab would support a British woman as a frontline soldier, let alone a leader. "The heart of women's role of jihad is not a military one, it's not on the battlefield," says Dr Nelly Lahoud, of the Combating Terrorism Centre at the US Military Academy. Women might be seen as key to the success of jihad, but as mothers, daughters, sisters and teachers, he says. Handwritten notes found in Lewthwaite's Mombasa house appear to support this notion, says Wishart. He says it seems likely that she was involved in the Interpol charge from December 2011, but he suggests it was a support role – "paying the rent on a house that was to be the operational base rather than its mastermind". But he adds that even if she is not an operational terrorist, she is certainly a "fervent believer in unpalatable jihadi ideas and a supporter of those who take violent action".

  • The White Widow: Searching for Samantha will be shown on BBC1 at 10.35pm

Samantha Lewthwaite: fears of White Widow 'revenge plot'

4 April 2014

SECURITY services across Africa are reportedly on high alert following the death of a senior al-Shabaab leader, with fears that terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite may take revenge on Western targets.

Lewthwaite, the widow of the 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, is wanted in Kenya on charges of possessing explosives and conspiracy to commit "a felony" dating back to December 2011.

Sheikh Abubakar Shariff Ahmed, an al-Shabaab leader, believed to have been Lewthwaite's mentor, was shot by unidentified gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya, on Tuesday.

Ahmed – known as Makaburi, meaning "graveyard" – is believed to have recruited dozens of Britons, including Lewthwaite and one of Lee Rigby's murderers, Michael Adebolajo.

It is unclear who killed Ahmed. Some believe the assassins were Israeli Special Forces, while officials in Mobasa claimed there was a power struggle within al-Shabaab.

But human rights activists are convinced that the Kenyan government – rattled by the al-Shabaab attack on a Nairobi mall last year – was behind the killing. Lewthwaite, nicknamed the White Widow, also blames the Kenyan authorities for the death of her mentor, according to a senior security source speaking to the Daily Mirror.

"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," they said.

"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 source added that "Lewthwaite and her associates will want revenge."

Makaburi is believed to have met Lewthwaite in 2010 in Mobasa and introduced her to a network of contacts in east Africa. Makaburi once labelled David Cameron and Barack Obama "terrorists" and praised Adebolajo for "avenging the deaths of innocent Muslims" following the death of Lee Rigby.

Samantha Lewthwaite's Bin Laden poem revealed in full

22 October 2013

BRITISH terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite is believed to have written a poem declaring her love for Osama bin Laden.

The 34-line Ode To Osama, revealed by Sky News, was found by police on a computer in a Nairobi flat where Lewthwaite is thought to have lived for seven months in 2011.

In it, she pledges to continue the fight to bring terror to the West and claims her love for the man behind the 9/11 attacks is "like no other".

Lewthwaite, known as the White Widow because she was married to the 7/7 suicide bomber Jermaine Lindsay, wrote: "Us we are left to continue what you started/To seek the victory until we are martyred."

Al Qaeda are "stronger and fiercer than ever", she said, adding: "Their [sic] was no victory for you Mr Obama/The honour is his on martyred Osama."

Interpol issued an arrest notice for Lewthwaite last month in the wake of the Nairobi shopping mall massacre, in which al-Shabaab terrorists killed at least 67 people. However, she is not wanted in Kenya for that attack but on charges of possessing explosives and conspiracy to commit a crime dating back to December 2011.

It was information on the hard drive of a computer left at her house in Mombasa that led police to the flat in Nairobi. It is the first time she has been specifically placed in the Kenyan capital.

A tenancy agreement shows that she used her South African alias Natalie Faye Webb while she rented the Nairobi apartment with her four children. It overlooks another shopping centre, the Junction shopping mall, which British and Kenyan intelligence believe was a potential target for al-Shabaab. She paid nearly £500 a month for the three-bedroom flat despite having no apparent income.

Police have previously uncovered handwritten notes inside her house in Mombasa claiming she was raising her children to be Mujahideen terrorists.

Samantha Lewthwaite: Ode To Osama (unedited)

Oh sheik osama my father, my brother
My love for you is like no other
Oh Sheik Osama now that you are gone
The muslims must wake up they must be strong
I know that you are in a better place
That Allah has bestowed upon you grace.
Us we are left to continue what you started.
To seek the victory until we are martyred.
To instill terror into kuffar.
Until the world is governed by la illaha illala.
Oh sheik osama no this for true
My heart will not find peace until all muslims do.
Everything you had you gave for Allah
No surrender will take us all far.
Your life an example of how we should be.
Oh Muslims listen to our beloved sheik's words
Let not his struggle and efforts go unheard
Revive what he started and strive to success
Then maybe we can be raised with the best.
Oh sheik Osama we are jealous of you to be of those who the promise is true
The promise is truth which is binding if only we knew
Verily Allah has purchased the lives of the believers that theirs shall be paradise.
They fight in Allahs cause, so they kill and are killed.
It is a promise binding on Allah in taurat, injill and Qur'an
And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? S9V111
As for our enemies our words will be less.
You picked the wrong army to contest.
Al Qaeda are stronger and fiercer than ever.
Thinking in the end you are stupid it will NEVER
Be over until the day that we see our lands returned and governed by He Allah the almighty,
Whose law is complete.
So make your plans and He is the best of planners.
Their was no victory for you Mr Obama
The honour is his on martyred Osama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Samantha Lewthwaite: White Widow's hair and dieting tips 14/10/13

SAMANTHA LEWTHWAITE regularly searched the internet for instructions on how to make bombs. But the British terror suspect dubbed The White Widow also "spent hours" looking at fashionable shoes and dresses as well as tips on make-up, hair and dieting.

A search history obtained from a laptop computer used by the 29-year-old reveals that on the same day she researched making pipe bombs, she downloaded books on "burning fat fast", the Daily Mirror reports. She also Googled advice on the "Islamic meaning of horoscopes" even looking up her own star sign – a practice deemed "sinful" in the eyes of Islam, the paper says.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mic Wright says the apparent contradiction between her search records and "her expressed desire to wage unholy war" is misleading.

"While Lewthwaite has mortgaged much of her humanity to the evil ideology of Islamist terror, she is still a woman who grew up in Britain," he writes. "We must realise what hypocrites these 'holy' warriors are. Searches of their computers often throw up extreme pornography and searches for fast cars and even faster women."

Wright says it would also be wrong to make too much of her interest in horoscopes despite Islam's hostile view of astrology. "The woman is both vile and an idiot," he writes. "It is no surprise that her reading of the Koran is at best cursory."

Lewthwaite's computer and her diary were seized by police in Kenya in October 2011, but details of the information they contained has been kept secret until now, the Daily Mail reports. Files found on the laptop suggest the alleged architect of the massacre at Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Centre may be planning more jihadist attacks, the paper says.

Rather than Western vanity, the Mail says Lewthwaite's interest in fashion and dieting might be driven by her need to change her appearance to avoid capture. A source told the paper: "She has evaded capture for so long that it stands to reason she is a woman who is capable of changing her appearance to remain on the run. She is known to use many different identities and is adept at not arousing suspicion, while blending into her surroundings with ease."

Samantha Lewthwaite: 'White Widow' hunted by Interpol 27/09/13

INTERPOL has issued a 'wanted person notice' for Samantha Lewthwaite - the woman dubbed the 'White Widow' - at the request of Kenyan authorities.

Despite speculation that Lewthwaite was among the militants who attacked the Westgate Shopping Centre in Nairobi, the warrant is not linked to this week's attack.

An Interpol statement said she was "wanted by Kenya on charges of being in possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December 2011".

Frank Gardner, the BBC's security correspondent, says it relates to an alleged plot to bomb a number of tourist resorts on Kenya's coast two years ago.

"This was serious enough for the Foreign Office to upgrade its travel alert for Kenya, and for Scotland Yard detectives to fly out to Kenya to investigate," he says.

Lewthwaite, who was married to 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, has been on the run for months and was reported to have crossed into Somalia last year.

The daughter of a British soldier from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, Lewthwaite was reportedly hit hard by her parents' separation when she was 11 and converted to Islam as a teenager. She met Lindsay online when she was 17 and married him in 2002.

The 29-year-old has since been linked with al-Shabaab - the Somali militant Islamist group that claimed responsibility for this week's attack on the Nairobi shopping complex, killing at least 67 people (though some fear the death toll will be higher after part of the mall collapsed).

One of the survivors of the attack told Kenyan police she was shot at by a "pale-skinned" woman but there is still no evidence that Lewthwaite was involved.

Today she has been dubbed by several newspapers as "the world's most wanted woman". The Interpol alert, known as a 'Red Notice', requires its 190 member countries to apprehend the suspect on sight. Ronald Noble, Interpol's secretary-general, tells the Daily Telegraph, it also ensures member countries are aware "of the danger posed by this woman, not just across the region but also worldwide".

Samantha Lewthwaite: was the 'White Widow' at Westgate mall? 25/09/13

THERE IS renewed speculation that British terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite – the woman dubbed ‘The White Widow’ – was among the militants who attacked a Nairobi shopping centre.

The Islamist group Al-Shabaab insists there were no women among the gunmen who killed more than 60 people at the mall. But one of the survivors of the attack has told Kenyan police she was shot at by a “pale-skinned” woman, The Sun reports.

Meanwhile, The Mirror says Lewthwaite is still suspected of being the “mastermind” behind Saturday’s attack. The paper has obtained pictures of the fake passport it says the 29-year-old Briton used to enter Kenya with her three children. The document carries Lewthwaite’s photograph but bears the name of a British nurse called Natalie Faye Webb.

The collapse of three floors of the Westgate shopping centre means it may be some time before the identities of the terrorists killed in the attack are established. There are also rumours that some of the militants may have escaped by putting on clothes taken from hostages.

The Sun says the witness who claims she was shot at by a white woman is a craft store worker who was hiding beneath a trolley when a “pale-skinned” woman fired a volley of bullets at her from a balcony. The terrified woman, identified only as Caroline, said: “She was high up, but close enough that I saw her looking along the floor where I was until she saw me. She aimed at me and opened fire. The bullets did not hit me. I don’t know how that happened.”

Lewthwaite’s notoriety – and the suggestion she may have been involved in the 7/7 attacks in London as well as the slaughter at the Westgate mall – has “torn her family apart”, says The Mirror.

Her father, Andy Lewthwaite, is a soldier who served in Northern Ireland during the 1970s at the height of the Troubles. A neighbour in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, where the family lives, said: “For him to imagine his own daughter is involved in this is very painful.”

Meanwhile, Samantha Lewthwaite’s grandmother, Elizabeth Allen, was admitted to hospital yesterday with heart problems. The 85-year-old from Banbridge, County Down, is “too ill to cope with this”, a neighbour said. "Her health is poor and continuing to fail as a result of the pressure and all the news reports about her granddaughter.”

Samantha Lewthwaite: is she among Al-Shabaab dead? 24/09/2013

THE ANNOUNCEMENT by Kenya's foreign minister that a British woman was among the terrorists killed by security forces in the Nairobi shopping centre siege yesterday has fuelled speculation that Samantha Lewthwaite played a role in the drama.

Known as the 'White Widow', Lewthwaite was married to the July 7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, who blew up an Underground train at King's Cross in 2005, killing 26 people. She was already wanted in Kenya on terror charges.

Kenyan troops now claim to have taken control of the Westgate shopping centre following the three-day al-Shabaab siege, which left at least 62 people dead, including six Britons. A further 170 were injured and 69 are still missing.

Kenya's foreign minister, Amina Mohamed, claims a British woman was involved in the attack, alongside "two or three" Americans. The woman, she said in an interview with PBS, had "done this many times before".

The British Foreign Office has said it cannot rule out the possibility that the 29-year-old Lewthwaite was involved, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Known to her followers as 'dada muzungu' - Swahili for 'white sister' - Lewthwaite moved to Kenya in 2007 with her three children and cut ties with her British family.

She has been on the run in East Africa for the last two years, after allegedly firing grenades into a Mombasa bar full of football fans, killing three and injuring 50.

In March last year, officials said she had fled to Somalia and security forces were hunting a woman who used several identities, including hers. She is believed to have trained a group of female suicide bombers in Somalia and has been serving as a spokeswoman for al-Shabaab.

The image of Lewthwaite as a terrorist suspect cuts a very different figure from that depicted in the press after the London bombings seven years ago.

The daughter of a British soldier from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, Lewthwaite was reportedly hit hard by her parents' separation when she was 11 and converted to Islam as a teenager. She met Lindsay online when she was 17 and married him in 2002.

Following the 7/7 bombings, she claimed she was "horrified" by the atrocities. Years later, the 7/7 inquests revealed that she had gone with her husband to visit Mohammad Sidique Khan, a veteran jihadi and ringleader of the London bombers. But it was not established how much, if anything, she knew at the time. · 

Disqus - noscript

Samantha Lewthwaite is just a horny, ugly monster, craving and doing anything for mail attention and prostituting herself to a bunch of psychopathic serial killers and devil worshippers, who hope to enter Shaytan’s (Satan’s)
luxurious brothel by pleasing him. What a disappointing, hellish surprise is awaiting them.

how did this psychotic bitch get out of the country ? in a niqab no doubt. MI6 should have been keeping tabs on her at the very least.

Does anybody remember Rose Dugdale - an IRA "Groupie" of the 1970's? This creature is another manifestation of that syndrome - perhaps quite unintelligent, immature, cruel, craving attention and unprincipled in the extreme.

Yes - it is quite possible that she was facilitated in her movements by the wearing of the "offended" militant Moslem's face mask - although, in this case, it seems, the mask shielded us from her hideous visage.

Grot:It's unlikely she was wearing a niqab, as the picture is apparently her without even a headscarf. perhaps the question that should be asked is how did she get out with a fake passport what with us all having to buy these super-duper biometric ones. I wear niqab, but I'm only asked to identify myself when reentering the country, they don't seem to care who leaves.

By the way what she is accused of is worse than being 'horny,' or 'craving male attention', even of 'prostitution'. She's accused of killing innocent people- don't detract from that by making such facile, irrelevant tabloid-inspired rants.

Time for a "dead or alive" bounty,preferably dead !!

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.