QUESTIONS have been raised over the security services’ prior knowledge of two men shot and arrested in Woolwich after the brutal murder of a soldier.
The suspects remain hospitalised and under arrest. One has been named as Michael Adebolajo, a 28-year-old man born in Lambeth. It was widely reported last night that the men were known to the security services before the attacks took place.
Adebolajo has been described as a member of extremist group al-Muhajiroun, which was banned under the Terrorism Act in 2010.
Scotland Yard reported that a man and a woman, both aged 29, had also been taken into custody. Five addresses in south, north and east London as well as a house in Lincoln have been searched as part of the investigation. The police have continued forensic analysis of the area.
Lee Rigby, a drummer with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers was confirmed as the man killed in the attack.
Rigby was a 25-year-old soldier with a son of two. After joining the army in 2006, he carried out tours of duty in Afghanistan and Cyprus. In 2011 he began a posting to his regimental recruitment team in London.
His family issued a statement describing him as a devoted father and husband. “Lee was lovely. He would do anything for anybody, he always looked after his sisters and always protected them”.
Tributes also poured in from his colleagues and friends. Regimental sergeant major Ned Miller said: “He was one of the battalion’s great characters, always smiling and always ready to brighten the mood”.
In Afghanistan, Rigby served in a fire support group, a relatively common operational role for servicemen in the Corps of Drums.
Prime Minister David Cameron made a statement on the incident yesterday, stressing the need to continue as normal and remain resolute. He said: “The people who did this were trying to divide us. They should know: something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger”.
Allister Heath is away. His column will return next Thursday.