Terror suspect goes on run while under police surveillance

Disappearance of Ibrahim Magag puts pressure on Home Secretary's latest anti-terror measures

The Government was facing serious questions over its anti-terror
policies last night after a Somali-born extremist became the first
person to abscond while the subject of new monitoring powers
imposed by Theresa May, the Home Secretary.

Ibrahim Magag, 28, was last seen on Boxing Day in north London. Police have alerted all ports and airports amid fears that he is heading to Somalia to join the ranks of some 50 British jihadists operating in and around the country.

Mr Magag – who was said to have arranged finances for al-Qa'ida associates – had been barred from the capital to stop him mixing with a group of Britons who are believed to have backed extremist associates in East Africa. But he was allowed to return to his London home from "internal exile" in the West Country when the Government introduced new anti-terror orders at the start of 2012, after a long-running controversy over whether the previous rules breached human rights. At least two other men have breached the terms of their Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPims) in 2012. The orders can force the suspect to stay overnight at a specified address, report to a police station every day and prevent them travelling abroad. Mr Magag, who was last spotted wearing a khaki robe in Camden on Boxing Day evening, was one of just 10 men subject to the orders. Mrs May applied to the High Court yesterday to have an anonymity order lifted against him to aid the police hunt. However, speculation was growing last night that he had fled to Somalia. Mr Magag was named as part of a British cell of extremists with access to false passports, money and documents in a court hearing in July.

Scotland Yard said last night that he should not be approached but is "not considered at this time to represent a direct threat to the British public".

Court papers named Mr Magag as an associate of a man known only as "CC", who had fought on the front line in Somalia in support of al-Shabaab. The al-Qa'ida-linked group is blamed for thousands of deaths including of Western aid workers.

Mr Magag was said to have flown to Somalia in 2007 and was detained in Dubai on his return in possession of three mobile phones and thousands of dollars. While in custody, he tried to swallow a piece of paper containing telephone numbers.

After his return to Britain, he was ordered to move to the West Country in 2009 to disrupt his extremist activities. His return to London sparked a political row as counter-terrorism officials were gearing up for the huge security operation before the Olympics.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Parliamentary Home Affairs Select Committee, said the failure of the TPim regime in the Magag case was a cause for serious concern. "How was this able to happen, bearing in mind that assurances have been given by ministers that the procedures would protect the public?" he said. "I have asked for a full explanation."

New order: The UK's terror measures

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures (TPims) replaced control orders at the start of last year. The main differences are:

* Control orders had to be renewed annually but were otherwise indefinite. TPims last for two years but are renewed only if new evidence is presented.

* Forced relocation was allowed under control orders, but not now.

* Suspects subject to TPims can apply to spend a night at a different address to their residence. This wasn't possible under control orders.

* Rules relating to whom a suspect can communicate have been relaxed slightly by TPims.

* Control orders barred internet access. TPims allow it, but on the condition that passwords are passed to the security services.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue