RAF personnel at a base in Norfolk have been warned not to wear their uniform in public or travel on foot unaccompanied after one of their colleagues narrowly avoided being kidnapped at knife-point, raising fears of a Lee Rigby style terrorist attack.
UPDATE 1400 BST: A Norfolk police statement released on Thursday afternoon has given details of the descriptions of the two men being hunted for the attempted kidnapping. The statement said: “Suspect one is described as being between 20 and 30 years old, approximately 6ft tall, of athletic but stocky build, with dark hair which was long on top and had a well groomed beard. He was of Middle East origin in appearance with a dark skin tone and wore dark casual clothing”.
The statement continued: “Suspect 2 is described as between 20-30 years old but younger than the first suspect and of a slimmer build. He was approximately 5ft 10, clean shaven with short dark hair. He was also of Middle Eastern origin in appearance and wore a white t-shirt and dark shorts”.
The original story:
An airman was out running near RAF Marham near Kings Lynn in Norfolk when he was approached by two men wielding knives. It is reported that they were trying to kidnap him by bundling him into a Ford Galaxy style people carrier.
The man was unharmed in the incident, which took place at 3.30pm on Wednesday, and was able to get away from his attackers, who sped off. He was not wearing his uniform at the time, The Daily Telegraph has reported.
RAF Marham is home to Tornado jets currently being used in operations against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, leading to speculation that the airman was subject to an attempted Lee Rigby style terrorist attack.
Following the attack, military personnel at the base were warned to keep a low profile and not travel unaccompanied.
Rich Curzon, of Protective Security at the Ministry of Defence, has issued an internal memo to staff advising: “Following a security incident at RAF Marham, it is directed that all personnel keep a low profile and not make themselves vulnerable.
“Specifically, until the threat subsides, no-one is to be on their own on foot, or on a bicycle, within the local area in uniform or clothing which might identify them with the military.”
However, the local police force are unwilling to speculate about the nature of the attack or issue any description of the attackers.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, Lorne Green, said we “must not draw any conclusions” as investigations are in their early stages.
“The incident is under close investigation at the moment with an open mind,” he said.
“There is nothing at the moment to strongly suggest one motive above another and it is all subject to a very intensive investigation at the moment.
“Incidents of this kind are very rare in our county and our constabulary, working in co-operation with other forces, are well-equipped to respond to any eventuality of violent crime, regardless of motive.”
Drummer Lee Rigby of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was attacked and killed while returning to the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, by two men who ran him over with their car before hacking him to death with machetes.