Home Affairs pours cold water on terror passport links

Sam Lewthwaite
Sam Lewthwaite

South African Home Affairs has poured cold water on the Kenyan terror passport claims saying it can’t comment or take action on media reports.

The alleged South African passport holder, Sam Lewthwaite, has been linked to alleged British terrorist Jermaine Grant, currently on trial in Kenya for possession of various chemicals, batteries and switches used to make explosives.

Police investigating the Nairobi mall massacre are also questioning a Briton arrested as he tried to fly out of the city after the attack.

The 35-year-old was detained at passport control in the capital’s Jomo Kenyatta airport on Monday afternoon as he prepared to board a Turkish Airlines flight.

Some attackers slipped out of the Westgate shopping complex amid the confusion, after switching their clothes with those of their hostages.

The Briton, believed to be of Somali origin, attracted the attention of passport officers because of bruising to his face, his dark glasses and acting suspiciously.

A Foreign Office spokesman said last night it was aware of the arrest and was providing consular assistance.

MI5 and Scotland Yard are examining the records of Britons who travelled to Somalia and returned to the UK after training or contact with Al Shabaab amid fears they could be planning attacks in British cities.

Up to 20 Britons are thought to be in Somalia training or fighting alongside jihadists.

A British detective gave evidence Tuesday in Kenya at the trial of Jermaine Grant, accused of ties to Somalia’s Al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab.

Prosecutors have accused Grant, a 30-year-old Muslim convert, of working with fellow Briton Samantha Lewthwaite – the fugitive widow of British suicide bomber Germaine Lindsay, who blew himself up on a London Underground train on July 7, 2005, killing 26 people.

Grant is charged along with his Kenyan wife, Warda Breik Islam, and two other Kenyans. He has denied the charges.

The trial continues Wednesday.