Soldier Beheaded In London Cleaver Attack: Who Is Attacker Michael Adeboloja?

By Staff Reporter on May 23, 2013 11:02 AM EDT

Michael Adeboloja
A man, identified as Michael Adeboloja, with bloodied hands and knives appears in a still image from amateur video that shows the immediate aftermath of an attack in which a man was killed in southeast London. (Photo: Reuters)

A horrifying London cleaver attack took place in broad daylight as two attackers beheaded a soldier at 2:20 p.m. local time, on John Wilson Street in Woolrich, London. While the official injuries the victim suffered have not been announced, several witnesses said the soldier was beheaded.

The murder was committed in public. Multiple witnesses described the incident as a beheading with a machete blade. What's more, BBC reported sources heard the attackers shout "Allahu Akbar" as they filmed the horrifying murder.

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"We saw clearly two knives, meat cleavers," described James, one of the witnesses, to the Telegraph. "They were big kitchen knives like you would use in a butcher's, they were hacking at this poor guy, we thought they were trying to remove organs from him."

"These two guys were crazed," James continued. "They were just animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there."

According to UPI this morning, authorities have determined the two suspects were acting out on their own. What's more, security services were aware of the men.

"The point that the two suspects in this horrific attack were known to the security services has been widely reported," announced Prime Minister David Cameron said during a statement Thursday. "You would not expect me to comment on this when a criminal investigation is ongoing."

A chilling photograph of a Nigerian man holding a bloody cleaver went viral yesterday as the brutal murder attracted the attention of readers around the world. According to UPI, the attacker is identified as 28-year-old Michael Adeboloja.

Reports from Sky News reveal Michael Adeboloja was born in Lambeth of Central London and grew up in East London.

"He was a student at Greenwich University, but it is not clear what he was studying there," said crime reporter Martin Brunt to Sky News. "Already on Facebook there are comments from former pupils say that they went to school with him in east London."

While the two attackers are apprehended and they seem to be working independently, authorities are still concerned whether the suspects belong to a larger group of extremists.

Sky News reports that the former leader of banned Islamic group al Muhajiroun, Anjem Choudary, knew one of the attackers but have not made contact with him for two years. One of the suspects was stopped when he attempted to leave for Somalia in order to join al Shaabab militants.

To better understand Michael Adeboloja's background, a counter-terrorism squad investigated a Lincolnshire house that allegedly belonged to Adeboloja's father. Another house in Greenwich was investigated as well.

"We understand concern about the motivation and we will work tirelessly to uncover why this occurred and who was responsible. I understand people want answers, but I must stress we are in the early stages of investigations," said Scotland Yard police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

In a statement following the attack, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

"The people who did this were trying to divide us. They should know something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger."

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