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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs