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Sharon Beshenivksy Suspect Is Captured In Somalia And Flown To Britain
London, November 2, 2007 – An alleged armed robber who became the subject of an international manhunt after the murder of a policewoman was flown to Britain yesterday after being captured in a remote African village.
Mustafa Jama, 27, was charged last night with the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, who was shot in 2005 outside a travel agency in Bradford. Mr. Jama, who became Britain’s mostwanted man after the killing, was seized by troops this week in a semi-lawless region of northern Somalia, where he is thought to have been hiding for the past two years.
He is believed to have fled Britain from Heathrow in late 2005 by disguising himself as a veiled Muslim woman and using his sister’s passport.
A lengthy international operation led to his seizure by forces of Somalia’s Federal Transitional Government in a part of the country where he is known to have relatives.
In conditions of high secrecy, Mr. Jama was flown to the United Arab Emirates, where a team of detectives from West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major inquiry team were waiting at Dubai airport.
Held in Dubai overnight, he was put on a flight to Heathrow which landed at 2pm yesterday. Once on British soil, he was arrested formally in connection with PC Beshenivsky’s murder.
Mr. Jama was then driven to a police station in Leeds, accompanied by a fleet of police vehicles including four cars, four motorcycles, two vans and a force helicopter. Roads in the city centre were closed to rush-hour traffic before the convoy arrived at Bridewell police station at 5.20pm.Mr Jama has been charged with murder, robbery and four firearms offences.
Britain has no extradition treaty with war-torn Somalia, but a memorandum of understanding, specifically relating to Mr. Jama, was signed in the summer of 2006 and paved the way for this week’s operation.
The signatories were Britain’s High Commissioner in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Somali Government’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Sheikh Ali.
Also involved was the Crown Prosecution Service’s special crime division, which prepared the legal papers that were sent, via the Home Office, to the Somali authorities. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokeswoman said that Britain was very grateful for the assistance provided by President Abdillahi Yusuf Ahmed of Somalia.
PC Beshenivsky, 38, who was married with three children and two step-children, died in November 2005 when she and her colleague PC Teresa Milburn, 37, responded to an alarm at the Universal Express travel agency. Three armed robbers burst out of the premises, firing shots that hit the two officers, who were standing on the pavement outside. PC Milburn was shot in the shoulder.
PC Beshenivsky, a former childminder, had been a serving officer for only nine months. She was nearing the end of her shift, and about to go home for her daughter’s fourth birthday party, when she was killed.
Two members of the London-based Thug Fam robbery gang, Muzzaker Shah, 26, and Mr. Jama’s younger brother, Yusuf Jama, 21, were convicted of murder and are serving life sentences. A further three men, accomplices of the robbers, are serving sentences ranging from eight years to life.
Mr. Jama was aged 12 when he arrived in Britain in 1993 with his mother and three siblings. They were granted leave to remain in the country after claiming that they had been forced to flee Somalia following a tribal uprising.
His father, who was once a Somali MP, is a cousin of Mohamed Siyad Barre, the country’s former President, who seized power in a 1969 military coup and led a brutal dictatorship until he was toppled in 1991.
Mr. Jama’s arrest fulfils a pledge made by Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan, the head of the murder inquiry, who spoke two years ago of his determination to track down the wanted man, no matter where in the world he was hiding.
A man thought to be the mastermind of the bungled robbery is still being hunted by police in connection with the PC Beshenivsky’s murder.
Piran Ditta Khan, 60, a businessman with interests in Aberdeen and London, is thought to have fled to Pakistan after the killing.
Source: The Times