Over the years, there have been people who have gained notoriety for their skill at evading the law. People like Pablo Escobar, or El Chapo, who attained infamy for the lengths they went to in order to stay one step ahead of the police. However, they all got caught. But the person we’re talking about is still on the lam.
Samantha Lewthwaite, also known as the White Widow, has been on the run for almost 15 years. Over the years she has become one of the world’s most wanted fugitives, and has also assumed a leadership position within terror outfits.
But how did an unassuming white British woman turn into a global enigma with deep terror connections?
Lewthwaite grew up in Northern Ireland in the 80s, which at the time was seeing bombings and fighting due to clashes between the IRA and the government. Her father was also in the military, so her life saw its fair share of violence.
At the age of 17, she converted to Islam after her parents separated. Then, around the age of 20, she met a man named Germaine Lindsay at a protest march in Hyde Park, London against unjust wars. Soon after, they got married.
This man – Germaine Lindsay – would go on to blow himself up as one of the suicide bombers of the devastating 7/7 London subway attacks. Samantha claimed she had no clue about Germaine’s intentions, and that he was apparently a loving husband and father.
This claim about being in the dark however, was strongly contested as time went on. An inquest found that she had associated with the ringleader of the bombers before the attack. She was also heavily criticised for selling her story to a newspaper for a massive sum of money, wherein she portrayed herself as an ignorant victim
Soon after, she fled the country, and was believed to be hiding in Tanzania or Somalia. Once she was untraceable, there were numerous sightings of her around the world, mostly in connection to bombings and brutal terror attacks.
She was almost arrested but managed to escape the authorities in Kenya for using a fake passport and for having terror links. She was confirmed to have been in Johannesburg, where she even gave birth to her 4th child. During the entire team, many arrested terrorists identified her as the leader of their groups, who were all planning to or had just committed bombings and attacks.
Her ability to evade capture and still coordinate attacks has also been possible due to Al-Shabaab, an East African terrorist group who have killed thousands of civilians over the years.
She was spotted at a bar in Mombasa just before a bomb went off there in 2012; She was linked to the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi that killed 71 people. Cops who raided her house after she fled found guns, explosive, articles on how to make bombs, and even a self-written poem dedicated to Osama Bin Laden there. All in all, Lewthwaite is accused of causing the deaths of more than 400 people.
For now, Samantha the White Widow remains at large, a mainstay of the FBI’s Most Wanted list. Interpol is looking for her, the CIA and Kenyan Intelligence is looking for her. Let’s hope one day they can finally catch this elusive killer.