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Suspected killer of British soldier was held in Kenya

Agencies | Updated: 2013-05-27 17:38

LONDON/NAIROBI - One of two men arrested over the murder of a British soldier in a London street was detained in Kenya in 2010 on suspicion of seeking to train with an al-Qaida-linked group in Somalia, Kenyan police said on Sunday.

Confirmation that Michael Adebolajo was held in Kenya and deported to London will intensify calls for Britain's spy agencies to explain what they knew about the suspect and whether they could have done more to prevent Lee Rigby's killing on Wednesday.

The British parliament's security committee will next week investigate the security services' actions in the run-up to a killing that has put pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron to take a harder line on radicals.

The Nairobi government initially said Adebolajo had never visited Kenya. But on Sunday, Boniface Mwaniki, head of Kenya's anti-terrorism police, said Adebolajo was arrested in November 2010 and deported to Britain.

Suspected killer of British soldier was held in Kenya

Ian Rigby (C), the stepfather of murdered soldier Lee Rigby, reads a statement with Lee Rigby's mother Lyn (L) and wife Rebecca (R) at a news conference held at the Regimental HQ of his unit, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, in Bury, northern England May 24, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]

"He was arrested with a group of five others trying to travel to Somalia to join militant group al Shabaab," he told Reuters.

The Islamist force, which is linked to al-Qaida, wants to impose a strict version of Islamic law across Somalia.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman in London confirmed the arrest and said consular officials had provided assistance.

Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are under guard in hospital after being shot and arrested after the murder of the 25-year-old Afghan war veteran. They have not been charged.

Spy agencies have come under scrutiny after uncorroborated allegations by a friend of Adebolajo on Friday that intelligence officers tried to recruit him six months ago.

Asked whether the security services had contacted the men, Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May told the BBC: "Their job is about gathering intelligence. They do that from a variety of sources and they will do that in a variety of ways. And yes, they will approach individuals from time to time."

A source close to the investigation told Reuters this week that both suspects were known to the MI5 domestic security service. However, neither was thought to pose a serious threat.

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