Samantha Lewthwaite, popularly known as the white widow, is suspected to be taking part in various terrorist activities that took place in several parts of East Africa, especially Kenya. Lately, she is accused of masterminding the Westgate attack in Kenya which claimed more than 60 lives. Here are some lesser-known facts about Samantha.
A Look At Samantha Lewthwaite’s Early Life and Family Background
Samantha Louise Lewthwaite, also known as the White Widow or Sherafiyah Lewthwaite, was born in the down county on December 5, 1983, to former British soldier Andrew Christine and Elizabeth Christine, a devout Irish Catholic.
After the military, Lewthwaite’s father worked as a lorry driver which saw them living in Northern Ireland. The family later moved to Aylesbury, England where Lewthwaite attended Elmhurst middle school as well as Grange secondary school all in Aylesbury. She went on to pursue a degree in Politics and Religion at the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies but never graduated.
Samantha’s parents later got divorced and she soon after, joined Islam while still a young girl. She was reportedly inspired to switch to Islam after seeking refuge from their Muslim neighbours where she learned that Muslim conservatism could bring her comfort amidst distresses she experienced from her parents’ separation. It was also there that she learned about Jihad.
According to reports by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Samantha Lewthwaite has cut herself from her close relatives. After fleeing the United Kingdom, she no longer communicates with any of her family members. Samantha’s father once admitted that he rarely understood his daughter while saying that he has no idea of her whereabouts, but he believes she has been involved in terrorist activities in Kenya.
Is Samantha Lewthwaite Dead Or Alive?
Samantha was believed to have been killed during the confrontation with the Kenyan soldiers at the Westgate Mall in September 2013. However, the claims were dismissed by Al-Shabaab’s spokesperson who claimed that they don’t use women as fighters and the allegations that Samantha was among the attackers in Westgate was false.
In a similar vein, Lewthwaite was reported to have been killed by a pro-Russian separatist sniper during the War in Donbass in November 2014. It was claimed that her death occurred amid battle fighting for the pro-Ukrainian Aidar Battalion in the eastern town of Debaltsevo. This news which was first carried by the Russian news agency, REGNUM, was however, debunked by Fox News which stated that the White Widow’s death is yet to be confirmed. Moreso, the death clam was further denied by the commander of the said battalion to which Lewthwaite fought alongside.
From the foregoing, there is a good possibility that the white widow is still very much alive.
She was married to a suicide bomber
Lewthwaite’s husband, Germaine Lindsay was born in Jamaica and he met her over the internet and they got married in 2002. Three years later, Lindsay carried out an attack (a suicide bomb attack) on an underground train which killed 26 civilians including himself. The pair have four children together.
She initially condemned her husband’s acts
In 2005, Samantha Lewthwaite came out to publicly condemn her husband’s terrorist activities which lead to the death of several innocent civilians. After the attacks (the 7/7 attacks) she explained that she was never involved in planning the attacks and that she had no knowledge of her husband’s bomb plan. She condemned the act but after a very short period of time, she was reported to have disappeared. Her disappearance led to the conclusion that she planned the attack with her husband.
She is an alleged member of a terrorist group
Samantha Lewthwaite is said to be a member of the Al Shabaab terrorist group which is affiliated to the Al Qaeda. She is said to play the role of a banker in the group. Sources reveal that she was the brain behind the Westgate attack in Kenya. In fact, some sources suggest that she participated in the killing of the civilians in the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi.
Samantha Lewthwaite is wanted by Police
Samantha Lewthwaite is on the list of wanted terrorists. The anti-terrorism police have carried out numerous raids in the houses that she is alleged to be living in during which evidences of her involvement in terrorist activities were found. For example, a notebook containing a framework for a guide to Jihad was found in one of her rented homes by the police. The document confirmed that Lewthwaite wanted her children to be holy warriors when they mature.
She has been based in East Africa for more than 2 years
Samantha set her foot in east Africa secretly. She is believed to have arrived in the region in 2011. The manner in which she got here is unknown. She uses a fake passport under the names, Natalie Faye-Webb, who is a South African woman.
Meanwhile, a lot of other issues have been raised about Samantha. The issues continue to unfold each day especially in regions where terrorist activities are prevalent.