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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor 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.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More