HOME Secretary Theresa May has insisted a terror suspect who escaped surveillance by disguising himself in a burka does not pose “a direct threat to the public in the UK”, despite mounting concern over his disappearance.
Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed is understood to have received training and fought overseas for al-Shabaab, the
Somalia-based cell of the militant Islamist group al-Qaeda.
The 27-year-old is the second person to breach a Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (Tpim) notice since they were introduced to replace control orders in early 2012.
Ms May told MPs: “The police and security service have confirmed that they do not believe that this man poses a direct threat to the public in the UK. The reason he was put on a Tpim in the first place was to prevent his travel to support terrorism overseas.”
Mohamed entered a west London mosque on Friday in western-style clothes but CCTV images showed him leaving with his face and body fully covered by a burka – the traditional Islamic garment for women.
In December, Tpim subject Ibrahim Magag ripped off his electronic tag and vanished in a black cab.
Both men were members of a UK-based network for terrorism-related activity in Somalia, court documents have revealed.
“The police have urged anyone who sees Mohamed or knows of his whereabouts not to approach him but to call 999 or to contact the anti-terrorist hotline,” Ms May said.
“Their focus is to locate and arrest Mr Mohamed. They are doing everything in their power to apprehend him as quickly as possible and the government will provide them with all the support they need.”
Ms May addressed the Commons as she came under increased pressure to explain how Mohamed was able to abscond.
Earlier, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper described the situation as “extremely
Somalia-born Mohamed, who is 5ft 8in and of medium build, is “not considered at this time to represent a direct threat to the public”, Scotland Yard said.
He was named after a court-imposed anonymity order was lifted by the Home Secretary to allow police to make a public appeal. It is understood he took part in terrorist training in 2008 and is believed to have helped various individuals travel from the UK to Somalia to allow them to engage in terrorism-related activity.
Mohamed is also suspected of helping to plan attacks in Somalia and overseas, including an attack intended for the Juba Hotel in Mogadishu in August 2010.
He arrived at the An-Noor Masjid and Community Centre in Church Road, Acton, at 10am on Friday and was last seen there at 3:15pm that day. The mosque said it did not intend to comment.
Along with 28-year-old Magag and others, Mohamed is thought to be a member of a UK-based network which had access to money, false passports and documentation, as well as equipment
Mohamed is understood to have procured funds and weapons for terrorism uses for the network.