News / USA

Yemen Links Nigerian Airline Plotter With Radical Cleric

Yemen's Deputy Prime Minister Rashad al-Alimi answers reporters' questions about Yemen's role in a failed bombing plot, Sana'a, 7 Jan. 2010
Yemen's Deputy Prime Minister Rashad al-Alimi answers reporters' questions about Yemen's role in a failed bombing plot, Sana'a, 7 Jan. 2010

A top Yemeni official confirms that the Nigerian man suspected of trying to blow up an airplane last month met with an extremist Muslim cleric linked to other violence in the U.S.  But the official says that although the suspect lived for a while in Yemen, he was radicalized in Britain. 

Yemen's deputy prime minister for defense and security affairs says the suspect met with Anwar al-Awlaki, a cleric popular with extremist groups, late last year.  

Rashad al-Alimi told reporters in Sana'a that Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is thought to have met with the American-Yemeni cleric in Shabwa.   Yemeni forces carried out lethal raids against extremists in the southeastern province last month, but Alimi says it is not known if al-Awlaki was among those killed.

The cleric is believed to have influenced the U.S. military officer accused of killing 13 people at a Texas military base in November.   Al-Awlaki preached at a mosque the suspect attended in Virginia.  He was earlier based at a mosque in San Diego frequented by two of the terrorists who carried out the September, 2001 attacks in the United States.

But Deputy Prime Minister Alimi argued that the meeting in Shabwa with al-Awlaki came after the Nigerian suspect turned to extremism which he said didn't happen in Yemen.

Alimi says that Abdulmutallab had no contacts with radicals during his stay in Yemen in 2004 and 2005, but was exposed to extremist views during subsequent years in Britain.

Moreover, he argues that the British and U.S. governments failed to share important concerns about the suspect with Yemen, including a warning his father gave the U.S. embassy in Nigeria about his son's intentions.  Alimi also denied claims, including by the suspect himself, that he received explosives training in Yemen.

All the same, Alimi had praise for both London and Washington, expressing gratitude for the international conference Britain is organizing later this month to address Yemen's problems, as well as U.S. promises of help in battling terrorists.  

But the official ruled out any direct military intervention by the U.S., saying such interference could strengthen al-Qaida.

He also denied  that Yemeni forces have been using U.S.-supplied drones to attack opponents, as some witnesses have reported.

The official's discussion of the various operations Yemen's forces are engaged in - a northern rebellion and a southern secessionist movement - also raised new questions about whether counter-terrorism efforts could be used to cover a wide array of activities.

Alimi referred to the Houthi fighters taking part in what is widely considered a tribal and sectarian battle in the north as terrorists.   He also accused them of cooperating with the local al Qaida offshoot, an accusation at odds with what some Western military sources say has been the government's past use of al Qaida fighters in battling the Houthis.  

You May Like

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid