UK soldier murder suspect leaves hospital, now in custody

Michael Adebowale, 22, faces questioning over the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in London.

Afp May 28, 2013
A police officer stands next to floral tributes, flags and balloons left for British soldier Lee Rigby, near the scene where he was killed in Woolwich, southeast London May 28, 2013. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON: One of the two main suspects in the brutal murder of a British soldier by extremists near his London barracks was discharged from hospital and taken into police custody on Tuesday.

Michael Adebowale, 22, faces questioning over the murder of soldier Lee Rigby as well as the attempted murder of a police officer, the Metropolitan Police said.

Adebowale and his fellow suspect in the murder, Michael Adebolajo, 28, were shot and injured by police at the scene near the barracks in Woolwich on Wednesday.

They have been under police guard in hospital and will be questioned by counter-terrorism officers.

Relatives of Adebolajo expressed "profound shame and distress" over Rigby's killing and sent their "heartfelt condolence" to his family in a statement released on Tuesday.

The family, British residents of Nigerian descent, said religion should never be used to justify violence.

In a video shot at the scene by a passer-by, Adebolajo held a bloodied knife and a meat cleaver and said the soldier's killing was "an eye for an eye" because British troops were killing Muslims.

His family, who are believed to be Christians, said: "Nothing we can say can undo the events of last week.

"However, as a family, we wish to share with others our horror at the senseless killing of Lee Rigby, and express our profound shame and distress that this has brought to our family.

"We send our heartfelt condolence to Lee Rigby's family and loved ones."

The family said that they "wholeheartedly condemn" terrorism, and "fully expect" that the soldier's killers will be brought to justice.

The statement said: "We wish to state openly that we believe that there is no place for violence in the name of religion or politics.

"We believe that all right-thinking members of society share this view wherever they were born and whatever their religion and political beliefs."

Both Adebolajo and Adebowale are believed to have been known previously to the British intelligence services.

Adebolajo was arrested in Kenya in 2010 and questioned over alleged links to neighbouring Somalia's al Qaeda-linked Shebab militant group, Kenyan authorities have confirmed.

He was released and deported to Britain because there was insufficient evidence to charge him.


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