Drill-rapping jihadist Sahayb Abu jailed for life for plotting terror attack with Gladiator-style sword

·6-min read

A drill-rapping jihadist has been jailed for life for plotting a terrorist attack using a Gladiator-style sword, balaclava and combat vest, just weeks after he was released from prison.

Sahayb Munye Abu, 27, from Goodmayes, East London, is among a growing number of former prisoners causing concern for the authorities following attacks at Fishmongers' Hall and Streatham.

It can be disclosed that Abu was jailed for breaking into a jewellery store in a suspected effort to raise funds to travel abroad for terrorism.

He was not charged with a terrorist offence but he mixed with other convicts in Wandsworth prison, including Husnain Rashid, who had been sentenced to 19 years for encouraging attacks on Prince George at his school.

Abu also associated with Abuthaher Mamun, who had been jailed for 13 years for showing Islamic State videos to schoolchildren.

Abu is the sixth member of his family to have become involved with IS, including two who died fighting in Syria.

Jailing him for life with a minimum term of 19 years, the judge, Mark Dennis QC, told Abu "you of all people" should have "turned your back on the violent extremist cause and instead promoted the cause of peace and unity that underlines the Islamic faith and so many other faiths around the world".

He added: "Instead within weeks of your own release, you joined other extremists committed to that same cause and within no time you were getting ready to carry out your own act of violence on the streets of this country.

"To this day you have yet to express any remorse for your actions."

Abu claimed that he was a "humanitarian" who was trying to launch an agricultural charity called "Islamic Growth" after watching videos by Alan Titchmarsh.

Another scheme involved selling a date-based smoothie called "Date - healthy and wealthy" to City workers.

An amateur rapper, he claimed that he had bought the combat vest to emulate rappers such as Stormzy in a mock drill rap video.

The sword was a "boy's toy" to do "moves" from the film Gladiator, he claimed.

Despite his comical persona, detectives believe he had shown "real vitriol and extreme hatred" for certain groups of people with "repeated reference to taking action".

His phone revealed he had downloaded IS videos, ranted about disbelievers and become obsessed with knife attacks, including the killings in Reading in June 2020.

Abu was released from prison in March last year and soon began talking about launching an attack before using the £100 COVID bonus of his universal credit to buy weapons.

The items included an 18-inch Persian Qama sword, a tradesman's knife, a balaclava and a camouflage hat, along with a combat vest. In his wardrobe was a black IS flag.

He told his brothers there was "something called biding your time waiting for right moments" and that Allah would make them "action men and not chatty men".

In another message, he told them: "Wallahi [I swear] I pray to Allah and I aspire not to live to be 30...30 and do what??? Get married and eat food."

He joined a radical chatroom on the encrypted Telegram app called Servants of the Unseen, writing on 22 June: "Time for talk over 100%. Talking is over. The Kuffar[non-believers] aren't talking, that's for sure."

Abu asked an undercover officer about getting hold of a gun but said that he was waiting for his older brother, Ahmed, who had been jailed alongside him, to be released before deciding what to do.

However, he also told the officer he wanted to "get it done rather than talk", leading senior officers to make the decision to move in for an arrest on 9 July last year.

Abu, a British citizen born in Somalia, shared videos of himself in what he called "militant wear" and "camo inghimasi" - a reference to a suicide attacker - rapping that he was a "bad man".

On 5 July, three days after buying the sword, he recorded a rap in which he said: "Allah arrest him my shank [knife] penetrate ya, got my suicide vest one click boom and I'll see you later."

The rap included the line: "I'm trying to see many Lee Rigby's heads rolling on the ground," a reference to the soldier murdered in Woolwich in May 2013.

Abu bore a marked hatred for police, commenting that they were "only good for dying", and he had been researching foreign embassies.

In a message posted to his brother, next to an image of himself in a hat and mask, he commented: "Strike fear in fakes, there's an epidemic so I say, no face no case, kuffar women clutch their purse, like who's this nutcase?"

Abu's father, Aweys Abu Munye, who was originally from Somalia, was a bigamist with two wives and 17 children, who allegedly beat the Koran into his children.

Two sons were killed fighting for IS and another son, Ahmed, and daughter and her husband were jailed for sharing radical material.

In messages to the others, Ahmed boasted: "The biggest advantage that we have is we are embedded in their societies, we are the enemy within and they know not."

Sahayb and his brothers Muhamed and Ahmed were stopped on Ilford High Road in east London in October 2017, putting up posters of a poppy, a skull and the Union Flag with the words: "British terror. Lest we forget. Don't betray your Ummah!" [Muslim nation].

Sahayb and Muhamed were caught by an MI5 surveillance team trying to break into a jewellery store in a suspected scheme to raise funds for terrorism in February 2018, helped by Ahmed who was not present.

Sahayb and Muhamed were jailed for two years and released weeks apart in March last year after serving their full sentences because they breached their licence conditions.

As a result of their "ongoing extremist mindset" in jail, the security service reopened their investigation on the brothers' release, sources say.

Abu regularly posted comments on YouTube under the name Bilal al-Rumi, including one which read: "I wish death on democrats, and communists and secularists and atheists, homosexuals, transvestites, voters for man-made laws, politicians, lawyers, judges, police officers, army soldiers, and everyone and everything that oppose Allah and the religion of Islam and that is all of you infidels."

He added: "I have gone from a non-practising and waster Muslim to now yearning for my lord and doing voluntary worship and being never at ease until I avenge my Muslim brothers and sisters. Eye for eye.

"Your country is rioting and riddled with disease and plague you are a cursed LGBT nation and Allah despises you all, you are filth and your blood to me is cheaper than dirt. God willing your downfall is nigh."

An undercover officer made contact with Sahayb online and then met him in person in Surrey Quays, South East London, on 30 June when he boasted about the terrorists he had met in jail and talked about getting hold of a gun.

His older brother, Muhamed Munye Abu, 32, was cleared of failing to inform police and was taken from the court, yelling: "You convicted a clown. He's a clown, a buffoon. He's a has-been."