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
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid