UK: Northwest terrorist might have been recruited in London

UK: Northwest terrorist might have been recruited in London

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of trying to blow up Northwest Flight 253, may have become recruited to the terrorist cause during three years he spent studying in Britain, his family said.

The 23-year-old was sent to London to study by his wealthy father, a prominent Nigerian banker who is reported to have become despondent over his son's growing radicalism.

Abdulmutallab enrolled at University College London (UCL) in September 2005, graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering in June last year.


Police on Saturday carried out searches at the flat, the lease on which, according to records, is owned by a US investment company. Scotland Yard confirmed that it was liaising with the US authorities investigating the failed attack. Officers also visited UCL.

According to a Nigerian source based in the US, a relation of Abdulmutallab's had claimed that the student, from a Muslim family, had been "recruited" to a more militant form of Islam in London.

On completing his degree, Abdulmutallab was believed to have moved to Yemen, where he was further radicalised and allegedly underwent some form of training culminating in the failed terrorism attempt.

Abdulmutallab was issued with a visa to the US on June 16 last year, coinciding with the completion of his UCL course. The visa was valid until June 12, 2010. His reason given for visiting the US was to attend a religious ceremony.

The source said: "After school at a top establishment in west Africa, Umar was sent to London to college. But when his degree course ended, he 'disappeared' to Yemen, where he was being taught Arabic. His family are suggesting he probably got recruited in London but became radicalised in Yemen. He had been in Yemen for about a year or even a year and a half although during that period he had flown between Yemen, Nigeria and the UK."


Abdulmutallab is reported to have told authorities that the explosive device was acquired in Yemen along with instructions on when it was to be used from al-Qaeda operatives, although it is claimed he later withdrew that remark.

Mohammed Mutallab, a cousin of the alleged bomber, told The Sunday Telegraph that the family was shocked that he had been arrested and believed he had been radicalised in Britain.

A Nigerian online newspaper reported, however, that Abdulmutallab had already held extremist views while at a boarding school in west Africa, where he earned the nickname "Alfa" in reference to his prowess as an Islamic scholar.


Source: Daily Telegraph

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