London Jan 01 2013 (SDN)- Police last night launched a nationwide manhunt after an Al Qaeda-linked terror suspect went on the run.
Somali-born Ibrahim Magag, 28, was being held under security measures because of the threat he poses to the public.
He has not been seen since Boxing Day.
Counter-terrorism detectives made the unusual decision to appeal for help to trace the extremist after he went missing.
Home Secretary Theresa May had earlier asked the High Court to lift a ban on identifying him over fears he may try to meet other terror suspects or flee the country.
The police appeal came as a second terror suspect and former associate of Magag appeared in court accused of breaching a similar order.
Both men were being held under Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (T-Pim) notices, which were introduced in January 2012. Magag’s disappearance is a blow to the Government’s T-Pim programme, which critics have warned is a ‘watered down’ version of the previous control order regime.
Magag is thought to be a member of a UK-based network that supports the Al-Shabaab terrorist group which controls much ofSomaliaand is affiliated to Al Qaeda.
Police were alerted on Boxing Day that he had gone missing after he failed to return to his overnight accommodation. He was last seen inCamden,North London, wearing a khaki robe, navy Converse plimsolls and a black Berghaus anorak.’
Magag had been forced to live in the West of England under a control order imposed in October 2009. When T-Pims were introduced last year he returned toLondonbecause the law no longer allowed ministers to relocate him.
This was despite an earlier High Court ruling that it was ‘too dangerous’ to allow him to return toLondon‘even for a short period’.
The judge was told moving him fromLondonwould disrupt his extremist activities and stop him planning or carrying out terrorism.
He had been jailed after 15 breaches of his control order, including attempts to buy a computer and visiting an internet café.
The former associate of Magag, known only as ‘CC’, received terrorist training inSomaliaand fought alongside rebel soldiers. ‘CC’ also helped procure weapons for terrorists and planned attacks inSomaliaand overseas. He appeared amid high security at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday accused of six breaches of his T-Pim.
Magag travelled toBritainas a refugee aged 12. His wife continues to live in aLondoncouncil flat. High Court documents detail how Magag, a married former train conductor and father of five, is closely linked to the Al-Shabaab group.
He was arrested in 2007 after returning from an Al-Shabaab terrorist training camp he attended with Bilal Berjawi, a close friend.
Magag was detained inNairobiand found to be carrying three new mobile phones and over £3,000 cash. While being held he tried to destroy phone numbers by eating a piece of paper.
The following year, police inLondonstopped Magag and found he was carrying £1,000 in cash. Detectives believe the money was for terrorist associates.
He was also accused of sending associates toSomaliato join terrorist fighters by providing money, false passports and other documents.
Berjawi, 27, was killed in aUSdrone strike last which hit his car nearMogadishu.
He had joined Islamic fighters after being stripped of his British citizenship 12 months earlier and deported.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said Magag does not represent a ‘direct threat’ to the public. However, he warned members of the public not to approach Magag.
David Anderson, the independent reviewer of terror legislation, said no security measure is ‘foolproof’.
He said experts believe there may be 50 British fighters inSomalia, adding: ‘Worst case, there could now be one more – an influential one.’
Speaking about T-Pims, he said: ‘The only sure way to prevent absconding is to lock people in a high-security prison.’
Security Minister James Brokenshire said: ‘The Home Secretary today applied to the High Court for an order protecting anonymity to be lifted in order to assist with their investigation. We do not believe [Magag’s] disappearance is linked to any terrorism planning in theUK.
Source: Dialy Mial