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Bishop of Woolwich calls murder of soldier 'barbaric cruelty'

The leader of Anglicans in Woolwich is urging people in the community to unite and stand in solidarity after the brutal killing of a British soldier which he described as 'barbaric cruelty'.

The soldier has been named as Drummer Lee Rigby, of 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. He was hacked to death near Woolwich barracks in south east London, in what's been described as a terrorist attack.

The Ministry of Defence announced the name of the victim pending formal police identification.

The 25 year-old, known as 'Riggers' to his friends, is being described as a 'loving father' to his two year-old son and a passionate and life-long Manchester United fan.

He joined the Army in 2006, and his first posting was as a machine gunner in Cyprus before being deployed to Helmand Province in April 2009.

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Taylor MBE, Commanding Officer Second Fusiliers, said: 

"Drummer Lee Rigby was a dedicated and professional soldier.

"He was a real character within the Second Fusiliers. Larger than life, he was at the heart of our Corps of Drums. 

"An experienced and talented side drummer and machine gunner, he was a true warrior and served with distinction in Afghanistan, Germany and Cyprus. 

"His ability, talent and personality made him a natural choice to work in the recruiting group. He will be sorely missed by everyone in the Second Fusiliers. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this incredibly difficult time. Once a Fusilier, Always a Fusilier."

The two suspects are believed to have Nigerian backgrounds. One of them, Michael Adebolajo, is said to have been raised in a devout Christian family before converting to Islam in 2003.

The pair were shot by officers at the scene yesterday, and are now being treated - under police guard - in separate hospitals. Video footage appears to show one of the alleged attackers covered in blood, holding a meat cleaver and saying he carried out the attack because British soldiers kill Muslims every day. It's believed both suspects were known to security services. The Bishop of Woolwich is urging people to unite in the wake of the events of the past 24 hours. Revd Dr Michael Ipgrave tells Premier's Marcus Jones we can't let extremists win:

The Prime Minister's declared the brutal murder of a "brave soldier" will bring the UK together and "make us stronger". David Cameron's been speaking after chairing a meeting of the Government's emergency Cobra committee. He said the best response was for everyone to go about their normal lives.

He said:

"The people who did this were trying to divide us. 

"They should know that something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger.  

"Today our thoughts are with the victim and with his family. They are grieving for a loved one, and we have lost a brave soldier."

Witnesses said the soldier was attacked with knives and a cleaver in Artillery Place by two men shouting Allahu Akbar (God is Great). The men made no attempt to flee and encouraged people to take pictures of them and their victim. The East London Mosque Trust said the suspects 'have no faith'.

Media Officer for the Trust, Salmon Farsi, tells Premier he echoes the sentiments of David Cameron, who called the act a 'betrayal of Islam'.

London's Mayor Boris Johnson has visited the scene in Woolwich.

He said:

"Plainly this was a horrific incident. 

"Everything that I have seen and heard this morning leads me to conclude two things. Number one: that those guilty will be brought speedily to justice, and second that I have absolutely no doubt that Londoners can go about their lives in the normal way today.

"I'm not going to say anything about the ongoing investigation, nor would you expect me to, nor would it be legally proper.

"But what I can say is that I've absolutely every confidence from what I've seen that killers will be brought to justice."

Counter-terrorism police are now leading the investigation and Scotland Yard has confirmed there is an increased police presence across the capital. Officers have raided a flat believed to belong to one of the suspects on a Greenwich housing estate.

Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne said:

"What is even more important today is that we continue to work together, and we are working with our communities. 

"We are here to listen and understand the concerns that this brutal attack will have raised.

"The Borough Commander in Greenwich held a meeting with community leaders last night and we are grateful for the support from the public.

"There has been an increased police presence in Woolwich and the surrounding areas overnight and this will continue for as long as it is needed."

Dr Jonathan Oloyede is Convenor for the National Day of Prayer and Worship and was raised in Nigeria. He tells Premier how we should be praying:

Local churches have been offering support to the community in the wake of the events. St Mary Magdalene Church in Woolwich's Greenlaw Street is open for people to pray and a mass was held in St Peter's Catholic Church this morning for the victim. Later faith leaders will meet to discuss their response with the leader of the council. David Adabale is a Minister at nearby New Wine Church.

He tells Premier what they are doing to help:

Away from London, Lincolnshire Police say a property in Saxilby near Lincoln has been searched as part of the investigation. Overnight the English Defence League clashed with police while demonstrating following the killing. Around 74 men gathered in Woolwich and sang nationalist songs.

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