LONDON: The uncle of one of the UK’s most wanted terrorists known as the “white widow” reckons she is most likely dead.
Samantha Lewthwaite was married to one of the suicide bombers who carried out the 7/7 attacks in London and has been linked to a string of terror attacks in Africa in the 2010s.
Security analysts have told British newspaper the Mirror that Lewthwaite, the widowed wife of London 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, was most likely being sheltered at a remote location in Somalia or Tanzania and unable to travel from her hiding place out of fear for her life.
Lewthwaite’s paternal uncle, Nigel, told the newspaper: “As far as I know, my brother’s not heard anything from her since way back. I don’t know how long it’s been. She’s probably dead, but they’re not saying anything.”
And he said that the family had not been informed by British security services of any developments.
“It’s hard. It’s been 10 years, probably longer than that, but what do we do?” he added.
The Sunday Times reported in 2012 that Lewthwaite was believed to have been travelling on a forged South African passport with the identity of a British nurse called Natalie Faye Webb.
At the time, Kenyan authorities described the terrorist as “a serious player” and said she was working as a financier for militant group Al-Shabab, an affiliate of Al-Qaeda based in Somalia. She is wanted over several terrorist attacks in Kenya.
Terrorism experts are skeptical over claims that the extremist has been spotted in Yemen, Syria, and on Ukraine’s border with Russia.
The International Crisis Group’s senior analyst for Somalia, Omar Mahmood, said Lewthwaite was now unlikely to be active as an Al-Shabab militant.
“I find it difficult to believe she is out there operating at a high level of the organization.
“It’s become increasingly insular. There’s definitely a degree of legend in her story. I haven’t seen anything over the past few years that would attest to her involvement, or her being around much.
“If she’s on good terms within the organization, then she could be living in one of the larger towns and villages that Al-Shabab occupies,” Mahmood added.