, LONDON, Nov 5 – The British government defended its terror prevention measures on Monday after a Somali born suspect escaped surveillance by putting on a burqa during a visit to a mosque.
Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, 27, who was subject to an order restricting his movements, entered a mosque in London on Friday wearing Western style clothes but CCTV images showed him leaving disguised as a woman, with his face and body fully covered.
He is understood to have received training and fought overseas for the Somalia based Shebab, the Al-Qaeda linked militants who launched the attack on a Nairobi shopping mall in September in which at least 67 people were killed.
British newspapers on Tuesday reported that Mohamed was trying to join up with terror suspect Samantha Lewthwaite.
The British woman, also known as the White Widow, is wanted for alleged terror offences in Kenya.
She is the widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of four Islamist suicide bombers who attacked the London transport network on July 7, 2005, killing 52 people.
The Times also reported that Mohamed had been cleared of tampering with his electronic monitoring tag on the day of his disappearance.
Home Secretary Theresa May, the interior minister, said that the suspect did not pose a “direct threat” to Britain.
“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,” she said in a statement to parliament.
Mohamed is under a Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPIM) notice, which was imposed primarily to prevent overseas travel.
He is the second person to breach such an order since Prime Minister David Cameron’s government introduced them to replace control orders in early 2012. They allow suspects to live in public but under stringent restrictions.
Another suspect, Ibrahim Magag, tore off his electronic tag and vanished in a taxi last December. He has not been seen since.
A spokesman for Cameron said that the government would “look at whether there are lessons that can be learned” following the latest disappearance.