Tags: Affrica | Qaida | recruit | ground

Africa is Fertile Ground for Al-Qaida Recruits

Sunday, 27 December 2009 10:23 PM

A Nigerian student's attempt to bring down a Detroit-bound jet raises concern over possible extremist Islamic activity in Nigeria and West Africa, a corner of the continent where al Qaeda so far hasn't put down significant roots.

U.S. and Nigerian government officials are trying to establish if Umar Farouk Abdulmutallabhad help in Nigeria , said a person familiar with the situation. "This is part of the broader investigation," this person said.

Violent extremist groups on the continent, including some inspired by or affiliated with al Qaeda, have largely been focused on North and East Africa. The details of Mr. Abdulmutallab's movement before the attempted bombing are still unclear, as is whether he had any genuine links with extremist groups.

One U.S. official has said Mr. Abdulmutallab has told investigators he had been given the explosive device he detonated in Yemen and was connected to al Qaeda there. Still, the alleged bomber's nationality and his origination aboard the flight in Lagos casts a fresh spotlight on possible extremist activity in Nigeria, where large populations of Muslims, concentrated in the north, have clashed violently with Christians in the south.

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Sunday, 27 December 2009 10:23 PM
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