Co Down woman believed to be attacker in Kenyan massacre
on 24/09/2013 11:32:19
The claim has fuelled speculation that terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite, who was married to bomber Jermaine Lindsay, was involved in the atrocity which has claimed more than 60 lives.
Lewthwaite was born in Co Down, Northern Ireland, and her husband was one of the bombers involed in the July 7, 2005 London bombings.
Lewthwaite's grandmother, Elizabeth Allen, from Banbridge, Co Down, has been hospitalised due to stress. She was given a panic alarm to contact security services in case her granddaughter made contact.
Ms Mohamed's comments on the 'British woman' - made while attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York - have caused confusion, with no confirmation either from the authorities in Nairobi or the British Foreign Office in London.
Amina Mohamed said the woman acted alongside "two or three" Americans as security forces began a fourth day of fighting at the shopping centre where at least six Britons are known to have died.
They directly contradict the Kenyan interior minister Joseph Ole Lenku who yesterday told a news conference that all the attackers were male - although he suggested that some may have been dressed as women.
Lewthwaite, dubbed the "White Widow", is known to be in East Africa and is wanted by Kenyan police over alleged links to a terrorist cell that planned to bomb the country's coast.
In March last year officials said she had fled to Somalia and that officers were hunting a woman who used several identities, including hers.
In an interview with the PBS NewsHour programme, Ms Mohamed said: "From the information that we have, two or three Americans (were involved) and I think, so far, I have heard of one Brit... a woman ... and I think she has done this many times before," she told the
She added that the alleged US militants were believed to have been around 18 or 19, of Somali or Arab origin and lived in "Minnesota and one other place".
Despite claims by the Kenyan authorities that their troops were conducting final "mop up operations" in the Westgate shopping mall, the Somali terrorist group which carried out the attack said it was still holding hostages in the sprawling complex.
The Twitter messages posted by al-Shabab, which has links to al Qaida, said its fighters were "still holding their ground" and that the hostages were "still alive, looking quite disconcerted but, nevertheless, alive."
Ms Mohamed said countries fighting these terrorists must "up their game" in the wake of the massacre, adding: "I think this new attack tells us that we did not do enough."
Authorities have confirmed the deaths of 62 civilians. Another 65 people have been hospitalised for treatment. Eleven soldiers from the Kenyan Defence Force (KDF) were also wounded in the fighting.
The crisis began on Saturday when 10 to 15 al-Shabab extremists stormed the mall, throwing grenades and firing on terrified shoppers.
The terrorists roamed through the complex reportedly seeking to separate Muslims - who were allowed to leave - from non-Muslims, who were killed or taken hostage.
Speaking in Pakistan, broadcast on the BBC, British Home Secretary Theresa May said: ''I'm aware of the reports that there has been a British woman involved.
"At this time until we've seen the investigation completed, It's not possible to comment further. As I indicated earlier, I'm not able to give further details."