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Monday, 9 December 2013

British Born Nigerian Implicated in the Killing of a British Soldier Says He Loves Al-Qaeda

One of the men accused of murdering soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich, south-east London, has told the Old Bailey he loves extremist network al-Qaeda.

The BBC reports that Michael Adebolajo, 28, described himself as a soldier, saying, "and this is a war".

The prosecution says he and Michael Adebowale, 22, rammed Fusilier Rigby with a car before attacking him with knives and a meat cleaver.

Both deny murdering the soldier and attempting to murder a police officer.

They are also accused of conspiracy to murder a police officer.

Members of Fusilier Rigby's family were in court on Monday as Mr Adebolajo, from Romford, east London, gave his name as Mujaahid Abu Hamza and confirmed to the court he was married with six children.

He said he had been brought up as a Christian by his family and his parents had taken him to church every Sunday.

   "The memory that sticks in my mind... is probably every New Year's Eve in the evening around 11 o'clock we would gather around in candlelight and read passages from the Bible," he said.

He converted to Islam in his first year as a student at Greenwich University.

He told the court: "My religion is everything.

"When I came to Islam I realised that... real success is not just what you can acquire, but really is if you make it to paradise, because then you can relax," he added.

Of al-Qaeda, Mr Adebolajo said: "Al-Qaeda I consider to be Mujahideen. I love them, they're my brothers. I have never met them. I consider them my brothers in Islam."

Last week the jury heard detailed and, at times, graphic detail of the prosecution's version of the events of 22 May, when 25-year-old Fusilier Rigby, of Middleton, Greater Manchester, was killed as he returned to Woolwich Barracks.

In one of the interviews he said soldiers were the "most fair target" because they joined the Army "with kind of an understanding that your life is at risk".
Backpack The defendant said he identified Fusilier Rigby as a soldier by his backpack

In court on Monday he said he had prayed the night before that he would target the right person.

"To be 100%, I don't believe there's a way to know 100% that was a soldier, however there were some steps that we took. For example before we started out on that day and the night previous to that I started worshipping Allah and begging him that... we strike a soldier and a soldier only."

He said he knew Fusilier Rigby was a soldier because of the camouflage backpack he was carrying and because he was going towards the barracks.

Earlier, he told the court the "vast majority" of his friends growing up in Romford had been white and British.

One of them, Kirk Redpath, joined the Army and was later killed in Iraq.

Mr Adebolajo said: "I hold Tony Blair responsible for his death."

The defendant told the court that he had tried to travel to Somalia in 2010 but was captured in Kenya and returned to the UK.

The trial continues.


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