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

Bleak China Economic Outlook Rattles Markets

Several key European stock indexes were down up to three percent, while US market indexes were off around 2.5 percent in afternoon trading More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs