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SA to probe ‘white widow’ passport

A photo of the fake South African passport of Samantha Lewthwaite released by Kenyan police in December 2011.

A photo of the fake South African passport of Samantha Lewthwaite released by Kenyan police in December 2011.

Published Sep 24, 2013

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Johannesburg - The department of home affairs is prepared to work with Kenya in determining the validity of a South African passport linked to a member of Al-Shabaab involved in the attacks in Nairobi, spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said on Tuesday.

“The government has not had sight of the alleged passport, nor has it received an official communiqué from the Kenyan officials,” Mamoepa said.

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He said should such a notice be received, the state would then act on it.

“Given our good bilateral relations, we stand ready to co-operate with the Kenyan authorities to determine the validity of the passport,” he added.

The Beeld reported on a so-called “white widow”, a woman in possession of a false South African passport and believed to have been instrumental in the planning and execution of the recent terror attacks in Nairobi.

The newspaper reports that Kenyan officials were investigating Samantha Lewthwaite, who is married to British Islamic militant Jermaine Grant, currently on trial in Mombasa for possession of explosives.

A Free State professor, Hussein Solomon, was quoted in the newspaper saying Lewthwaite was commonly known to move between Britain, Kenya, South Africa and Pakistan.

“It is known that when she was in the country earlier this year, she was in Fordsburg and in Mayfair (Johannesburg). She managed to get into the country although her name is on the Interpol list of wanted people,” Solomon was quoted as saying.

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Solomon reportedly spent the last year in Kenya studying the Al-Shabaab organisation and its actions.

A photograph of the faked South African passport was reportedly published on Monday in various British newspapers, in the name of 'Natalie Faye Webb'.

Lewthwaite was apparently a regular visitor to the country and used the South African passport as one of different aliases whenever she travelled.

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Sapa

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