Police investigating the murder of a soldier hacked to death on a busy London street. were looking yesterday into whether the two suspected killers, British men of Nigerian descent, were part of a wider conspiracy.
The two suspects, aged 22 and 28, are under guard in hospitals after being shot and arrested by police following the murder of 25 year old Afghan war veteran Lee Rigby on Wednesday in broad day light. They have not yet been charged. Detectives were also questioning another man and a woman, arrested on Thursday on suspicion of conspiracy to murder, as they tried to determine whether those responsible had links to militants in Britian or overseas.
One of the assailants, filmed justifying the killing as he stood near the body holding a knife and meat cleaver in bloodied hands, was named by acquaintances as 28 year old Londoner Michael adeboajo, a british-born convert to Islam. Little is known so far about the other man.
The murder the first islamist killing in Britain since local suicide bombers killed 52 people in London in 2005, revived fears of Lone wolves who may have had no direct contact with al Qaeda. Police chiefs said they would have 1,200 extra officers on the streets in London overnight and at key locations such as religious venues and transport hubs.
A source close to the investigation said the attackers were known to Britian's M15 internal security service, raising questions about whether it could have been prevented.
Adeboloja had handed out radical islamist pamphlets, but neither was considered a serious threat, a goverment source said.
Anjem Choudary, one of Britian's most recognised Islamist Leaders, said that Adeboloja was known to fellow Muslims as Mujahid ( a name meaning fighter)
He used to attend a few demonstrations and activities that we used to have in the past he said. He added that the had not seen him for about two years He was peaceful, unassuming, and I dont think there's any reason to think he would do anything violent.
The two men used a car to run down Drummer Rigby outisde Woolwich Barracks in south east London and then attacked him with a meat cleaver and knives, witnesses said, The pair told shocked bystanders they acted in revenge for British wars in Muslim Countries.