December 29, 2009

Yemen confirms terror suspect was in the country

Yemen confirms terror suspect was in the country

By Ruona Agbroko

An official at the Yemen foreign ministry on Tuesday confirmed to the country’s Yemen news agency (Saba) that the would-be bomber of a US airliner, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was in the country from August until the beginning of December 2009. He had a valid visa and was studying Arabic at an institute in the capital, Sanaa, but left for Ethiopia in December.

Mr. Abdulmutallab had left a masters degree programme in Dubai to study Arabic in Yemen. “The entry visa was granted to the Nigerian after authorities found he could get visas,” the official said.

‘We are no radicals’

Meanwhile, the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) in the United Kingdom has denied claims that suspected bomber was made into a radical while at the University College London (UCL) between 2005 and 2008.

Faisal Hanjra, spokesperson for FOSIS, said on Tuesday that, “there remains no evidence to suggest that Muslim students are at particular risk of radicalisation or that university campuses are vulnerable to people seeking to recruit to this extreme ideology.”

Mr. Hanjra said the organisation was “shocked” to discover that Mr. Abdulmutallab, who was president of his university’s Islamic Society from 2006 to 2007, could be involved in terror activities.

“There was nothing in his behaviour during this time that would indicate that he would commit these alleged acts,” he said.

According to him, friends and colleagues of Mr. Abdulmutallab had not heard from him since he left the university in 2008.

“Fellow students and staff are shocked and horrified at the arrest of someone who was considered engaging, friendly and keen to seek common cause with all people,” he said. “If these allegations prove true, then many fellow students would undoubtedly feel this to be a breakdown in trust.”

Mr. Hanjra appealed to the public to come forward with any information that would help authorities investigating the incident.

Fight evil ideologies

Meanwhile, Shehu Sani, a co-ordinator of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) , a pro-democracy group in Nigeria, said there was a need for Nigeria to work as a country to fight all ideologies that end up being a danger and serious problem to the country and its people.

Speaking to NEXT in a telephone interview last night, Mr. Shehu said, “here in the North, and all over the North-West zone, we are so sad that a young man can be influenced to carry out this dastardly act of attempting to kill innocent people. We totally condemn this incident.

“There is nowhere in the bible or quran that says you should kill innocent people. We don’t know from where they get this idea that you kill people. We at the CLO sympathise with the family at this time.”

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