British Muslim convert killed fighting for Islamist extremist group al-Shabaab was ‘second in command of his unit at the time of his death’
- Thomas Evans rose through the ranks of the Islamist group in Africa
- The 25-year-old was radicalised after converting to Islam when he was 19
- Nicknamed the ‘White Beast’, Evans was also the cameraman of the group
A British Muslim convert fighting for militant group al-Shabaab was the second in command of his unit when he was killed, it has emerged.
Thomas Evans was also the cameraman for the Islamist group, filming its members and the run-up to an attack on a military base in Kenya, where he was killed.
The 25-year-old from High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire was one of 11 militants who died in the firefight, as well as two Kenyan soldiers.
Police have now confirmed that he was one of the most senior ranking members of his unit in al-Shabaab at the time of his death, the BBC reported.
Evans – who changed his name to Abdul Hakim – was recorded shouting orders to other fighters over a radio.
He gained the nickname the ‘White Beast’ for the terrifying brutality he showed his victims, as he slaughtered Christians along the Kenyan and Somali border.
Survivors of his attacks have told how he broke down doors with an axe to find victims, and personally beheaded one man whose hands were tied behind his back.
The son of a devout Christian and Conservative party agent, Evans converted to Islam in 2010, aged 19, after splitting up with his girlfriend at the time.
His mother Sally Evans said she believed he was radicalised after leaving a moderate local mosque to attend a hard-line prayer centre, after he disagreed with their peaceful philosophy.
He grew a beard, wore Islamic dress and would even brush his teeth with a twig.
In the summer of 2011 Evans travelled to Egypt, telling his family he wanted to learn Arabic – but instead he travelled to Somalia where he was recruited for al-Shabaab.
The 25-year-old rose through the ranks, before he was killed on June 14 by the Kenyan army.
Mrs Evans learnt about his death the same night, saying: ‘I just went numb. I couldn’t believe that was my son, my little boy, my little babe who I loved.’
She has said she will not repatriate his body for fear his grave might become a shrine, used to inspire other extremists.