UK police question alleged soldier killer`s friend

Counterterrorism police questioned a friend of alleged Islamist extremist Michael Adebolajo.

London: Counterterrorism police on Saturday questioned a friend of alleged Islamist extremist Michael Adebolajo, one of two suspects in a savage killing of a British soldier in London that has horrified the country.

The friend, Abu Nusaybah, was arrested yesterday immediately after he gave a BBC Television interview describing how Adebolajo may have become radicalised in Kenya and alleging that Britain`s security services tried to recruit him six months ago.

Police said Nusaybah was wanted on suspicion of involvement in unspecified acts of terrorism.

Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, are suspected of killing soldier Lee Rigby by hacking his body with knives and a meat cleaver in front of dozens of passers-by on Wednesday in the southeast London district of Woolwich.

Police shot both men as they arrived minutes after Rigby`s slaying. Both suspects remain under armed guard at two London hospitals.

Questions abound over what could have led the two men to attack Rigby. Nusaybah`s interview offered one possible narrative. He said Adebolajo`s behaviour changed after he allegedly suffered abuse at the hands of Kenyan security forces.

Nusaybah said Adebolajo became withdrawn after he was allegedly arrested and then abused both physically and sexually while in jail.

He claimed that agents from Britain`s domestic spy agency, MI5, approached Adebolajo after he returned to Britain and initially sought to know if he had met specific Muslim militants, then asked Adebolajo if he was willing to act as an informer.

"He was explicit in that he refused to work for them," Nusaybah told the BBC.

It was not immediately possible to verify the information provided by Nusaybah, who said he had known Adebolajo for about a decade.

Meanwhile, the University of Greenwich confirmed today that records show Adebolajo was registered as a student there between 2003 and 2005. His academic progress was unsatisfactory and he did not complete his studies there, vice chancellor David Maguire said.

Few details have emerged about Adebowale besides one reported brush with death as a teenager.

The Guardian today reported that Adebowale was stabbed in 2008, when a man attacked him and two friends in a London apartment. One 18-year-old friend died and the attacker received a life sentence for murder, the newspaper said.

MI5 director-general Andrew Parker is expected to deliver a preliminary report next week to Parliament`s Intelligence and Security Committee detailing what the agency knew about both suspects and whether MI5 could have done anything to stop the attack.


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