Interpol red alert issued for British 'White Widow'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 September, 2013, 7:06pm

Interpol issued a wanted persons alert at Kenya's request yesterday for Samantha Lewthwaite, a British citizen dubbed the "White Widow", without mentioning her suspected role in the Nairobi mall attack.

The international police agency's so-called "red alert" notice said Lewthwaite, 29, was wanted by Kenya on charges of possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony dating back to December 2011.

Lewthwaite, also believed to use the alias Natalie Webb, is the widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of the Islamist bombers who carried out attacks on public transport in London in July 2005, and is thought to have left Britain several years ago.

South African Interior Minister Naledi Pandor said Lewthwaite had entered South Africa in July 2008 with an illegal passport, which she last used in February 2011. Pandor said the passport was "fraudulently acquired", rejecting accusations that South Africa had unwittingly harboured an international terror suspect.

Lewthwaite is wanted in connection with an alleged plot to attack luxury hotels and restaurants in Kenya.

British police have cited her as a possible suspect in last week's siege of a Nairobi shopping mall by Somalia's al-Shabab group.

Credit records show Natalie Faye Webb had at least three addresses in Johannesburg and ran up debts of US$8,600.

But residents at the addresses denied Lewthwaite had lived there and could not remember having seen her.

An Interpol spokesman declined to say when Kenya lodged its request for the alert.

"Through the Interpol Red Notice, Kenyan authorities have ensured that all 190 member countries are aware of the danger posed by this woman, not just across the region but also worldwide," Interpol Secretary Ronald Noble said.


Agence France-Presse, Reuters