A joint taskforce has been set up to track down Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, the terror suspect who disappeared after changing into a burka.
MI5, the Met Police’s Counter Terrorism Command and the UK Border Agency have now combined to produce a crack team tasked with locating, catching and arresting the Somali-born 27-year-old, according to BBC reports.
Mr Mohamed breached a terrorism prevention and investigation measure (TPim) when he absconded on Friday, which is deemed a criminal offence. Though the Home Secretary Theresa May has insisted the suspect does not pose an immediate threat to the public, officers are urgently seeking to prevent him from disappearing into the criminal underground or rekindling past associations with militants.
Within hours of his disappearance, Mr Mohamed’s photograph was distributed to ports and airports, and his details were posted on the Warnings Index Database. A judge ordered the lifting of his anonymity following a request from the Home Secretary.
The episode has caused severe embarrassment for Ms May, who was grilled by MPs yesterday over the fact that two suspected terrorists have now escaped the authorities in the space of less than 12 months, and since the use of TPims replaced stricter control orders.
On the day he disappeared, Mr Mohamed was cleared along with two other TPim subjects of tampering with his security tag. Prosecutions against the three men at the Old Bailey were dropped when it emerged the devices could have accidentally become loose.
Another Tpim subject Ibrahim Magag ripped off his tag, hailed a black cab and vanished in December. Mr Magag is believed to be linked to Mr Mohamed, and like him faces suspicions of involvement with terrorist activity in Somalia.
Mrs May was accused in angry exchanges in the Commons yesterday of having made it easier for the two men to escape because Tpims, unlike control orders, allowed suspects to live in their home cities.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, said: “Ibrahim Magag was previously relocated to the West Country. The Home Secretary's decision brought him back and he disappeared.
“Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed was previously relocated outside London and the Home Secretary's decision brought him back and he too has disappeared.
“Her policies brought these two terror suspects back into contact with their old networks, with people who could help them disappear and made it easier for these terror suspects to run off.”