By Calvin Osiemo
Reports have emerged that Samantha Lewthwaite, popularly known as ‘the White widow’ was involved in the Garissa University attack that left 148 people dead. The massacre that took place last month led to the closure of the institution which is a constituent college of Moi University. The survivors of the attack including students and staff have been transferred to other Moi University campuses.
The ‘Mirror’, a publication in the United Kingdom, has claimed that Lewthwaite was the mastermind behind the attack. In the publication, senior intelligence officers in Somalia working with their British counterparts say that they are tracing Lewthwaite’s whereabouts to ensure that the highly wanted terrorist is captured ‘dead or alive’.
Information from the publication indicates that since Lewthwaite joined terrorism, she has been involved in planning the deaths of over 400 people. The Mirror quoted a top Somali official who says that Ms. Lewthwaite is recruiting very young people and training them to be suicide bombers.
“She is an evil person but a very clever operator. The lady has moved up the ranks. She is one of the most important figures in the terror group. We think this lady is sitting at the right hand of the leader directing attacks. She does not carry out attacks herself as she is too important but is responsible for many, many deaths – hundreds. She uses children to kill for her after giving money to their families,” the report quotes the intelligence officer.
“We share all our information with British agents here in Mogadishu. They are here to keep an eye on the lady and other Britons in Somalia. The SAS are ready to get her or we are ready to call in a drone strike against her. We will get her eventually. We know she has surrounded herself with other Britons, her own people as her Somali language is not so good. They are her lieutenants and bodyguards.”
Prior to the Garissa attack, Lewthwaite was also linked to the 21 September 2013 Westgate mall attack in Nairobi in which 67 people lost their lives and is suspected to be linked to two more terror attacks in the U.K.
Samantha Lewthwaite is the daughter of a former soldier from Northern Ireland. She was raised as a Christian but later converted into Islam. In 2002, she was married to suspected radical Germaine Lindsay. In 2005, Lindsay detonated a bomb on a train travelling between King’s Cross and Russell square leading to the death of 26 people.
However Ms. Lewthwaite said she was not aware of the attack. Lewthwaite, then with two children, disappeared from the public eye in 2009. Information from Scotland Yard later indicated that Lewthwaite was re-married to a former Kenya Navy officer called Abdi Wahid. She now has four children.
Lewthwaite has been spotted in East Africa and Kenya particularly severally over the last decade. During an investigation conducted by Kenyan officials over an Al-Qaeda attack targeting western tourists in the country, Lewthwaites’s fingerprints were found and she has since been regarded as a terror suspect. She was also once caught with a fake passport but managed to slip away before police could act.
Lewthwaite re-married for a third time to Hassan Maalim Ibrahim popularly referred to as Sheikh. This move is said to have given her more protection given the heavily armed husband’s relatives. Witnesses spotted her in Baidoa
“Her in-laws will treat her very well as she is now one of them and part of one of the large clans. Samantha is in a heavily guarded village in a no-go area for outsiders. But we’re sure she’ll move around which is why she needs to get in with the family. At the moment she hardly leaves her grass thatch house. She wears black socks and gloves and hijab to cover her white skin so spies won’t spot her. Samantha has given herself great protection with this marriage,” the intelligence officers said.