A Zimbabwean-origin terrorist who fled from Manchester to Syria has emerged as a key member of an Islamic State (ISIS) terror cell referred to as the ‘Beatles’ because of their British accents. Raymond Matimba is believed to have left Britain in 2014 to link up with ISIS terrorists in the Middle East. According to ‘The Daily Telegraph’, he went on to join the group of high-profile British terrorists that included Mohammed Emwazi, who was dubbed Jihadi John and seen on beheading videos.
The newspaper also reports that Matimba had links to suicide bomber Salman Abedi, who is linked to the terror attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester earlier this year which claimed 23 lives.
The 28-year-old adopted the name Abu Qaqa al-Britani al- Afro as he became a leading sniper for ISIS in Raqqa, the terrorist group’s de facto capital.
The newspaper report believes he may still be alive, unlike Emwazi who was killed in 2015 in a US-led drone attack.
It published a video apparently showing Matimba, Emwazi and two other British terror suspects – Reyaad Khan and Junaid Hussain – in a coffee shop in Raqqa in 2014. The men are lounging on sofas, their weapons leaning against the wall, while they charge their phones.
The clip, which was filmed in secret by an infiltrator, is said to be the first to show all four together as part of a cell dubbed the ‘Beatles’ by the ISIS after the four-member British pop group.
The unnamed source of the video claimed that it was Matimba who had urged the terror cell to organise an attack on his home city of Manchester, and had spoken to Abedi in the months before the attack on Manchester Arena in May.
“He said [to the group] that he hated his city, that he wanted it to be bombed,” the source was quoted as saying.
Matimba was reported to have been killed earlier this year, however, his mother, Monica, told the newspaper that she had not received any official confirmation. She said she last heard from her son in 2015 via WhatsApp.
The other three members of the so-called Beatles group are believed to have all been killed in airstrikes over the years but Matimba’s fate continues to remain uncertain.