A British woman has been linked to Sunday’s attack on a Mombasa night club that killed three people and injured 25 others. The woman, Samantha Lewthwaite alias Natalie Faye Webb has been on the run since December last year when she escaped a police dragnet in Mombasa.
By PATRICK MAYOYO, Daily Nation, June 27 2012
Lewthwaite, a mother of three, is a widow of Jermaine Lindsay, who blew up a Piccadilly Line train in London on July 7, 2005 that killed 52 people and injured several others.
However, Coast provincial criminal investigation officer Ambrose Munyasia denied the reports by the Daily Mail of London.
The newspaper reported that the Briton is suspected to have masterminded the Sunday night attack at Jericho Beer Garden at Mishomoroni, in Mombasa mainland north.
The newspaper said a police official told its reporter that shortly before the attack, a white woman fitting Lewthwaite’s description was seen acting suspiciously and asking questions about the bar.
She was with two men of Asian features. “We suspect Samantha Lewthwaite was actively involved in the terrorist attack on the club,” the police official said.
But Mr Munyasia said they were only holding a Kenyan who was injured during the attack and who is expected to give the police more information.
Before she fled from Mombasa to Somalia, police had suspected Lewthwaite of planning a terrorist attack in the coastal town and when they raided her house they found weapons and bomb-making material.
The 28-year-old soldier’s daughter from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire is suspected to have fled to Somalia before returning to Kenya.
“Police believe Samantha is back in Mombasa and is playing an active role in hand grenade attacks,” another security agent said.
“A white woman, fitting Samantha’s description, was seen with two middle-aged Arab men asking questions about the bar before the attack.
“She really stood out as it is very unusual for a white woman to be here and dressed in Muslim clothes.” The suspicious trio had also been spotted near churches in Mombasa.
Ms Lewthwaite, a university dropout, is being hunted by the CIA, the Kenyan Police and Scotland Yard, which has sent a large team to Nairobi to assist with the investigation.
Before she fled from Mombasa, she had been travelling in Kenya on a false passport belonging to Natalie Faye Webb, an Essex nurse who has no links to terrorism and has never been to the East African country.
Ms Lewthwaite was born in Northern Ireland, where her father Andrew, who was serving in the army, had met her mother, Christine.
They separated when Ms Lewthwaite was 11 — an event friends suggest was key in her seeking solace in Islam, and converting to the faith at the age of 15.