Friday, 6 July 2012

Nigeria: Two men accused of having links with AQAP

Two Nigerian men, Olaniyi Lawal, 31, and Luqman Babatunde, 30, have been accused of having links with al-Qa'ida and recruiting prospective members to be trained in Yemen.

Both men pleaded not guilty at a court in Abuja. They are being charged with receiving funds from al-Qa'ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and seeking to “further the objectives” of the organisation.

According to court papers, Lawal and Babatunde have been charged with receiving "monies in Saudi riyals and US dollars equivalent to one million naira (approximately £4,000)” from AQAP. It is thought that they were planning to use the funds “to recruit and transport prospective members of a terrorist group to Yemen," which would have violated Nigeria's anti-terrorism law.

Certain factions in Nigeria have a long history of affiliation with militant organisations. Nigeria's most prominent Islamist group Boko Haram has been linked to a different branch of al-Qa'ida in North Africa. The group, which says it is fighting to make Nigeria an Islamic state, has been responsible for hundreds of bomb attacks and killings in northern Nigeria.

Sources: BBC News, AFP, WSJ

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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