In Depth

RAF personnel told not to wear uniform after 'kidnap' attempt

Servicemen and women placed on alert following incident at RAF Marham in Norfolk

Military personnel at RAF Marham have been told to avoid wearing their uniforms while alone in public as police investigate what appears to have been a botched kidnapping near the Norfolk base.

What happened?

Norfolk police were called out to RAF Marham on Wednesday afternoon after a serviceman reported being threatened at knifepoint in what appears to have been an attempted abduction.

The unnamed victim was jogging back to the camp after a run when a man attempted to pull him into a stationary vehicle, described as a dark-coloured people-carrier. A second man appeared brandishing a knife, but the serviceman was able to fight off the first assailant and escape. The pair fled in their vehicle.

Although not hurt, the victim, a married man in his late twenties, was said to be "very, very shaken" by his ordeal.

A memo has since been circulated to base staff telling them to "keep a low profile and not make themselves vulnerable" for the time being. That includes not leaving the camp alone in uniform, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Police are looking for any witnesses in the King's Lynn area who might have seen the car and its occupants, two men in their twenties said to be of Middle Eastern appearance.

Was this a terrorist incident?

"Media reports have compared the attack with the murder of soldier Lee Rigby," says The Guardian. Rigby was run over and stabbed to death by two self-proclaimed British jihadis near his base in Woolwich, London, in 2013.

Detective Superintendent Paul Durham of Norfolk police said yesterday's attack appeared to be a pre-planned strike on a jogging route popular with personnel at the base and that terrorism could not be ruled out as a motive.

However, Norfolk police and crime commissioner Lorne Green cautioned against drawing conclusions. "The incident is under investigation and the police are rightly keeping an open mind," Green said. "There is nothing to suggest one motive above another."

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