Vanguard (Lagos)

3 March 2011

Nigeria: Al Qaeda Training Locals in Yemen - Ambassador Designate

Abuja — Head of the Economic Desk of the Nigerian Embassy in Riyahd, Saudi Arabia, and Ambassador designate, Ambassador Ahmed Magaji, has warned that the ongoing crisis in Yemen posed a great danger to the national security of Nigeria as Al Qaeda and other fundamentalist elements in that country could use the opportunity of the fall of the Yemeni government to send their trained elements to destablilise Nigeria.

Ambassador Magaji, who disclosed this during a confirmation hearing of ambassadorial nominee by the Senate Committee on Foregin Affairs, led by Senator Jubril Aminu, yesterday, said there was a large presence of Nigerians in the Middle East country, some of whom were being trained by Al Qaeda.

It would be recalled that a Nigerian, Abdulmutallab, who attempted to bomb a United State of America-bound aircraft on Christmas day in 2009, was trained by Al Qaeda in Yemen while purportedly in a language school in Yemen.

Appearing before the committee yesterday, Ambassador Magaji said the crisis in the Middle East should be of particular concern to the Nigerian government as a fall by the governments of these countries could pose serious security implications for Nigeria.

According to him, since Al Qaeda had specifically mentioned Nigeria as a country that is ripe for fundamentalists operation, events in the Middle East shoul be of concern to Nigeria.

Ambassador Magaji told bewildered members of the committee that Gaddafi, the Libyan President had, at a meeting with the Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister in October last year, said that while Nigeria was not in a position to threaten the security of Libya, his country could destabilise Nigeria by using its internal weaknesses.

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