News / Europe

Terror Suspects Were Known to British Police

A picture of victim Drummer Lee Rigby, of the British Army's 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is displayed with flowers left by mourners outside an army barracks near the scene of his killing in Woolwich, southeast London May 23, 2013.
A picture of victim Drummer Lee Rigby, of the British Army's 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is displayed with flowers left by mourners outside an army barracks near the scene of his killing in Woolwich, southeast London May 23, 2013.
VOA News
Senior British officials say the two men detained for the gruesome murder of an off-duty British soldier on a London street had been identified earlier by security teams investigating suspected Islamist extremists.

The victim, a 25-year-old father named Lee Rigby who had served in Afghanistan, died at the scene. The two suspects were shot and wounded by police.

Media reports Thursday cited British Muslim hardliners and acquaintances who identified one of the suspects as 28-year-old Michael Adebolajo, of Nigerian descent.

Anjem Choudary, head of the banned British radical Islamist group al-Muhajiroun, said Adebolajo had regularly attended sermons by the group's Syrian-born founder Omar Bakri, who was banished from Britain in 2005.

VOA's Hausa Service confirmed that both suspects are British citizens who converted to Islam after being raised as Christians by their African immigrant families.

As the investigation progressed Thursday, British police said they had arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of conspiracy in connection with the case.

Rigby was rammed by a car and then hacked to death Wednesday afternoon near an army barracks in south London. Government officials said one of the attackers shouted "Allahu akbar" - "God is great" - as the soldier lay dying near him.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the killing was an appalling attack on Britain and a betrayal of Islam.

"This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life. It was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country. There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act," Cameron said.

The prime minister also said Britain was "absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror."

"We will defeat violent extremism by standing together, by backing our police and security services and above all by challenging the poisonous narrative of extremism," Cameron said.

The two suspects are under guard in a prison hospital.

Witnesses to the attack said the soldier was hacked to death with large butcher knives. British television broadcast a bystander's dramatic video showing a man identified as Adebolajo with blood-covered hands holding a cleaver and a knife.

He criticized the presence of British troops in foreign lands and justified the attack on religious grounds, saying to those around him, "the only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day."

Adebolajo apologized to women and children who witnessed the bloodshed but said, "in our land, women have to see the same."

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the attack, saying "the United States stands resolute with the United Kingdom, our ally and friend, against violent extremism and terror."

In signs of a backlash after the attack, more than 100 angry supporters of the English Defense League, a far-right street protest group, took to the streets late on Wednesday. Separately, two men were arrested in connection with separate attacks on mosques outside London. No one was hurt.

  • A police officer carries an evidence bag containing a knife near the scene of the killing of a British soldier in Woolwich, London, May 23, 2013.
  • Police officers search near the scene of the killing of a British soldier in Woolwich, London, May 23, 2013.
  • The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, speaks to police officers near the scene of the killing of a British soldier in Woolwich, London, May 23, 2013.
  • A wooden cross and a poppy, left as a tribute, are seen near the scene of the killing of a British soldier in Woolwich, London, May 23, 2013.
  • Tributes are seen near the scene of the killing of a British soldier in Woolwich, southeast London, May 23, 2013.
  • A police forensics officer investigates a crime scene where one man was killed in Woolwich, London, May 22, 2013.

You May Like

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

New Yellow Fever Research May Lead to Improved Treatment

Researchers identify features of disease that may lead to more effective treatment More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid