Alias/es: Asmantara, Sherafiyah, White Widow, Sherafiyah Lewthwaite
Status: At large
Organisation/s: Al-Shabaab (suspected)
Travel History: (Somalia,) South Africa, Kenya
Samantha Lewthwaite is the wife of one of four suicide bombers responsible for the London attacks on the 7th of July 2005. Lewthwaite allegedly entered South Africa for the first time in 2008 (also see Khalid Mehmood Rashid, and Haroon Rashid Aswat both resident in South Africa around the same time in 2005) under the name Natalie Faye Webb, which was linked to registered addresses in Johannesburg, credit cards, store cards and a South African passport. According to the South African Minister of Home Affairs at the time, Naledi Pandor, the last reported use of the passport was in February 2011 before it was officially cancelled and flagged for “use by a potential terror suspect” in September 2011.
In December 2011, Kenyan police were also investigating a suspected Al-Shabaab terror cell which led the raid of a home in the coastal city of Mombasa in search of a woman named Natalie Faye Webb. According to Kenyan police, the woman with three children entered the country on a South African passport in January 2011 and was suspected to have left. In 2013, Lewthwaite was back in the spotlight during investigations following the Westgate Mall attack. Speculation of Lewthwaite’s possible involvement followed remarks by Kenya’s foreign minister at the time who said one of Al-Shabaab’s militants was a British woman. No evidence has emerged in support of this claim, with Al-Shabaab further stating no women were involved in the attack.
However, just two days after the Westgate Mall attack, Interpol issued a red notice for Lewthwaite who is still at large.
Featured Image Source: Samantha Lewthwaite Q&A: What next for the ‘White Widow’?