Two brothers from Michigan have been implicated in a terror plot in Tunisia, which is located in northern Africa. The pair were arrested for allegedly encouraging terrorism and campaigning for the introduction of Islamic law in Tunisia.
According to TunisiaLive, an English language newspaper based in Tunisia, the two men have been identified as 32-year-old Nathan Lanwell and his younger brother 31-year-old Patrick Allan Lanwell. The brothers are said to own a home in Lansing, Michigan, located on Vine street, which has recently been condemned by the city.
TunisiaLive also claims that, working in conjunction with the Lansing State Journal, they have discovered that the brothers both have significant criminal histories. One also allegedly suffers from a mental health issue.
Tunisian authorities say that the Michigan based brothers have been living in the greater Tunis area for about a year, but have recently moved to Jendouba, a city in the north of the country. Although the brothers were found living in an encampment near the University of Jendouba where they claimed to have been studying computer science, local police say this is just a cover.
Tunisian authorities say that the brothers were not even enrolled at the University, and they were not students. In addition, they were found living, unwashed and with long beards in the encampment, where police say they were plotting terror attacks. According to officials, the brothers had been in contact with internationally known terrorists via social media.
According to the Tunisian authorities, the brothers’ laptops were discovered to contain plans to build explosives along with other jihad related content. During interviews with the police, the brother allegedly admitted that they had recently converted to Islam and were working to spread Sharia law throughout the country.
There are now conflicting reports about the brothers being released by police, ostensibly due to a lack of evidence tying them to terror plots. One source says that they have been freed but have been told to remain in the area while the investigation continues. Officials allegedly say that what they believed were plans of attack are now thought to be nothing more than maps of the city.
One woman from Michigan, who claims to have dated Nathan Lanwell, spoke with a local media source about that relationship. She claims that he threatened her at knife-point to go and get a marriage license, which she did out of fear of being harmed. She claims that he later attacked her and held her captive in his home. She has since decided to press charges, in Ingham County, Michigan.
Obviously, we do not know the full story here. We have never met the two brothers and they were not arrested here in Michigan, so we can only speculate as to their motives. However, we remind our readers that accusations of involvement with terror plots are very serious, and that no one should make assumptions about anyone else’s guilt based solely on allegations.