The Security Services are facing demands from MPs to answer ‘deeply troubling’ claims that they left one of Lee Rigby’s murderers free to kill by helping him escape jail overseas.
MPs have been told by senior Kenyan officials they wanted to lock up Michael Adebolajo for terrorism offences when he was caught trying to join a notorious Islamist group.
But it is claimed that MI5 intervened and insisted Adebolajo be set free.
He was allowed to return to Britain, and last year he mowed down and hacked to death the soldier outside Army barracks in Woolwich, South-East London.
It is the first time politicians have discussed publicly the shocking claims, which British diplomats have tried to deny.
Now the Commons Home Affairs Committee, which uncovered the evidence during private meetings in Kenya, is demanding that the Security Services provide answers about their involvement in the case in Africa four years ago – and what opportunities they may have missed to avoid the killing of Drummer Rigby, 25.
It has even been suggested that Adebolajo was acting as an informant for spies when he was sprung from jail in Nairobi in 2010.
Home Affairs Committee chairman Keith Vaz has written to the group carrying out a high-level investigation into Drummer Rigby’s killing to ask for more information about MI5’s role.
In a letter to the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), seen by The Mail on Sunday, he wrote: ‘The Home Affairs Committee visited Kenya, where Adebolajo was arrested in 2010, reportedly as part of a group who were trying to enter Somalia to train with Islamist militant group al-Shabab.
‘We heard competing accounts from British and Kenyan sources about the circumstances under which Adebolajo was returned to the UK.
Kenyan officials, where pressed by Mark Reckless MP, seemed to suggest they had wanted to charge Adebolajo with terrorist offences, but that the British Government actively sought his return.
‘It is suggested this might have been because he was providing intelligence to the Security Service, or he had indicated his willingness to do so.
‘The suggestion this dangerous individual, who could have been prosecuted and convicted for terrorist offences overseas, might have been at large in London because of the intervention of UK authorities, is deeply troubling.’
A report to be published in July by the ISC is expected to confirm that MI5 had contact with Adebolajo in the months before Drummer Rigby’s murder, but did not know of his plan to carry out the gruesome attack. Adebolajo is serving a whole-life term for the soldier’s murder.
A Government source said yesterday that MI5 was co-operating with the ISC’s inquiry.