Ipswich: Council leader “concerned” authority was not told terror suspect had been sent to town

Leader of the Ipswich Borough Council David Ellesmere

Leader of the Ipswich Borough Council David Ellesmere

The Ipswich authorities should have been made aware that a terror suspect was sent to the town, leader David Ellesmere has said after it emerged the man who escaped surveillance under a burka had been in Suffolk.

Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed hit the headlines last month after he gave the authorities the slip, prompting a Home Affairs inquiry into the circumstances.

The suspect, who is believed to have close links to al-Shabab, the Somali insurgent group that raided Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall in September, was given a control order in 2011 which forced him to live in the Suffolk, according to evidence from his lawyers submitted in a counter terrorism inquiry.

Control orders, which were replaced last year, saw terror suspects moved to different parts of the UK to break up alleged networks.

It is understood that it was imposed by the Home Secretary because officials said there was not enough evidence to bring a criminal case against him in court.

In evidence to a committee of MPs, Mr Mohamed’s lawyers Birnberg Peirce & Partners allege he was removed against his will from Somaliland to the UK and was placed under a control order to live in Ipswich.

Mr Ellesmere, who is now leader of Ipswich borough council but was not at the time he was placed in the town, said he did not believe the council had been informed.

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He said: “It does concern me that authorities like the borough council don’t seem to have been made aware of it. If somebody is suspected to be so dangerous that they do require a control order, or the successor, I think the authorities need to be made aware they have been placed in the town.”

Mr Mohamed is currently fighting the control order in the courts and is alleging that the UK Government was complicit in his torture in Somaliland, and that he was illegally departed.

In the evidence to the committee of MPs, which was published this week, the lawyers claimed he breached his control order because he would “rather be in prison” than be forced to live in Ipswich, where he did not know anybody.

Birnberg Peirce & Partners said: “Immediately on arrival he was placed under a control order and required to live in Ipswich where he knew nobody.

“He was not only traumatised from his experience... but was entirely isolated in Ipswich. For that reason, and others, a number of the severe regulations upon him, imposed by the control order, were breached by him.”

It added: “At the time of his arrest, for a second set of breaches, he commented that he preferred to be in prison, as at least he would be with other people.”

The replacement of control orders with “Tpim” notices early last year brought Mohamed and another terror suspect Ibrahim Magag back to London from areas outside the capital to where they had been relocated.

After it emerged that Mr Mohamed had escaped surveillance in London home secretary Theresa May insisted that he did not pose a direct threat to the British public.

Suffolk Constabulary said the management of terror suspects such as Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, and the decisions as to where they will be sent, was dealt with by the Home Office.

The Home Office does not comment on security matters.