UK

Police hunt missing terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed

  • 4 November 2013
  • From the section UK
Media caption"We need to know why this should happen for two cases in the space of 10 months", says shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper

A terror suspect who has gone missing after changing into a burka at a mosque is being hunted by police.

Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, 27, who was subject to an order restricting his movements, was last seen on Friday leaving the site in Acton, west London.

CCTV images showed him leaving with his face totally covered.

Police say Mr Mohamed, who has been linked to the Somali militant group al-Shabab, should not be approached but do not believe he poses a direct threat.

Ports notified

Security minister James Brokenshire said: "National security is the government's top priority and the police are doing everything in their power to apprehend this man as quickly as possible.

"The police and security services do not believe that this man poses a direct threat to the public in the UK.

"The home secretary, on police advice, applied to the High Court for an order protecting anonymity to be lifted in order to assist with their investigation."

A Labour source said the party would be seeking an "urgent parliamentary explanation" over the case.

The home secretary could be asked to come before MPs to explain what has happened, although the Commons speaker has the final say on whether the question is granted.

Somalia-born Mr Mohamed, who police say has breached his terrorism prevention and investigation measures (TPim) notice, is 5ft 8in tall, and of medium build.

Mr Mohamed arrived at the An-Noor Masjid and Community Centre, in Church Road, Acton, at approximately 10:00 GMT on Friday, and was seen inside at 15:15 GMT.

CCTV images issued by Scotland Yard showed him arriving wearing a jacket and trousers and then leaving the mosque in the burka.

The Metropolitan Police advised anyone who saw Mr Mohamed not to approach him and to call 999.

Image caption Police released CCTV images of Mr Mohamed arriving at the mosque...

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "The Counter Terrorism Command immediately launched inquiries to trace Mr Mohamed and these continue.

"Ports and borders were notified with his photograph and details circulated nationally. Public safety remains our priority."

The court-imposed anonymity order banning the publication of Mr Mohamed's name was lifted on Saturday to allow police to make a public appeal for information.

TPims are aimed at protecting the public from people the home secretary believes to have engaged in terrorism-related activity for whom it is not feasible to prosecute or deport.

The court-approved orders include a requirement that their subjects report daily to the authorities, stay overnight at a specified address, wear a GPS tag, and face restrictions on travel, movement, association and communication.

They were introduced in January 2012 to replace control orders, which had been in place for seven years and also included the power to relocate suspects.

'Extremely serious'

When the TPims order was obtained, Mr Mohamed was said to have received terrorist training in Somalia and fought on the front line in support of al-Shabab.

Image caption ... and leaving the mosque

Court documents also say he supported a UK-based network supporting terrorist-related activity in Somalia and had been involved in attack planning against Western interests in east Africa.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called for answers on how Mr Mohamed, who is said to now be a UK citizen, was able to abscond and described the situation as "extremely serious".

"Clearly police and security agencies will be doing everything possible to locate this terror suspect and ensure public safety," she said.

"The home secretary also needs to provide information about the decisions made over Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed's TPim, how he was able to abscond and what the risks to the public are."

She called for the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson, to "investigate urgently what has happened and the adequacy of the controls and powers in this case".

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