Nairobi News


White Widow threatened to kill me

The moment the dreaded White Widow threatened a caretaker with immediate death can now be revealed.

The terror suspect, wanted over the Westgate raid, told the shaken man she could “finish him in a flash”.

The White Widow — real name Samantha Lewthwaite — was holed up in Oakpark Apartments near the Nakumatt Junction shopping mall when the caretaker, Alfred Osiyo, told her she had to pay Sh7,000 in service charge arrears.

Osiyo ordered her to hand over the money before he would let her leave the apartments.

He recalled: “We refused to open the gate to force her to pay the money but she was very violent.”

“She said she could finish me in a flash.”

It was October 2011 and Lewthwaite wanted to leave in a hurry, saying her mother had died. She was crying, Osiyo said.

When she arrived at the apartments, just eight months earlier, in February 2011, she was with a man who lived with her.

Called Nick, he was said to look like an Eritrean or a Somali and he claimed he worked for Interpol.

The couple told Osiyo they were looking for an apartment because they had been spending too much money on hotel rooms. They were rented apartment B7,on the third floor.

“Every month, the couple paid Sh75,000 but they lived like people who were not very well off.  The apartment was frugally furnished with dining table and chairs, two mattresses, a television set and a gas cooker.

“You would not say that they were rich,” Osiyo said.

And he added: “She changed her sim cards like after every three hours. To the neighbours, the woman looked like she was in control of everything.”

Another worker, Jane Nyambura said Lewthwaite, whom they knew as Netalie Webb, did not talk much.

“She used to bring her children to the swimming pool but didn’t chat with anyone. When Nick talked to neighbours, she would get angry with him. She just stayed in the house all day,” Nyambura said.

During their tenancy Lewthwaite never dressed like a Muslim.

“She loved trousers and long sweaters. She only covered her head like an ordinary Kenyan woman once in a while. She did not wear buibui,” said Nyambura.

Osiyo said the couple liked visiting Nakumatt Junction, just 100 metres from the apartment.

“What amazes me is that they used to ask so much about the kind of people who shopped there. What race? What religion and also if so many rich people visited the mall,” he said.

They would explain that Nick worked for Interpol and needed the information.

“When Lewthwaite was linked to the Westgate attack, I was very shocked. I realised that the couple may have intended to attack the Junction Mall because of the questions they had been asking two years ago,” he said.

Samantha Lewthwaite is currently being sought by Interpol in more than 200 countries over a spate of terror attacks.

She is the widow of the UK’s 7/7 suicide bomber, Germaine Lindsay.

Kenyan investigators revealed she once lived in two upmarket houses in Mombasa with her then boyfriend, believed to be an ex-navy officer.