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28 May, 2013 21:43

Suspected Woolwich soldier-killer linked to Al Qaeda-affiliated cleric

Suspected Woolwich soldier-killer linked to Al Qaeda-affiliated cleric

Michael Adebolajo, who was caught on camera waving a bloody meat cleaver shortly after the death of soldier Lee Rigby, has been linked to an infamous radical Muslim cleric who had reportedly been engaged in recruiting and funding potential extremists.

Adebolajo remains in hospital under guard after both suspects involved were shot by armed police following Rigby’s death. Details emerged on Tuesday surrounding Adebolajo's links to a radical Muslim cleric named Aboud Rogo Mohammed.

The two frequently mixed, according to a senior Kenyan police official, and Rogo had aided Adebolajo in his attempts to enter Somalia to engage in warfare against the Somali government, reported Associated Press.

Rogo, from Kenya, had been as Islamic cleric, sanctioned by the United States for his involvement in a terrorist cell. He was killed in August 2012 after being shot, sparking some protests in Mombassa, his final resting place.

He stood accused of possession of firearms and detonators before his death in 2012 and faced charges of belonging to al-Shabaab (a Somalia-based cell of Al Qaeda,) and arranging its funding, while being credited with being a powerful orator for its cause.

The assistance Adebolajo had been getting from Rogo allegedly led to him joining up with the Somalia-based Al Qaeda linked group. Al-Shabab camps have been known for nurturing dozens of bombers who have launched terrorist assaults both within and outside Somalia.

Adebolajo was arrested with five other young men in November 2010 near the Kenya-Somalia border and eventually returned to Britain, said police.

His family released a statement on Tuesday saying that they were experiencing “profound shame and distress” while sending “heartfelt condolence” to Rigby's relatives.

A UK parliamentary intelligence committee said on Tuesday it would investigate whether the UK intelligence services failed to effectively carry out their duty before the killing of Rigby.

The two main suspects had been known to them for many years, with reports that MI5 even tried to recruit one.  

The younger suspect was discharged from hospital and taken into custody at a south London police station for questioning on Tuesday. Alongside his initial arrest on suspicion of his role in the murder, he was arrested on a second count of attempted murder of a police officer.