Nigeria suspects pair of al-Qaeda ties

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Abuja - A Nigerian court on Thursday accused two men of having links with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and of receiving funds from the militant group, court papers said.

Olaniyi Babafemi Lawal, 31, and Luqman Babatunde, 30, were also accused of planning to use the money “to recruit and transport prospective members of a terrorist group to Yemen”.

The Islamist militant group AQAP is mainly active in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Nigeria - Africa's most populous nation, split between a mainly Christian south and a predominantly Muslim north - has been hit by a series of deadly attacks blamed on another Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the six-count charge and the Abuja federal high court adjourned until October 2.

The two were accused of receiving “monies in Saudi riyals and US dollars equivalent to one million naira (about $6 000) from a terrorist organisation known as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,” court papers said.

They were also accused of intent to use the money “to recruit and transport prospective members of a terrorist group to Yemen”, violating Nigeria's anti-terrorism law, it said.

Other charges levelled at the men included arranging “a meeting which you know is connected with an act of terrorism” and providing logistics for the same purpose, the papers said. - Sapa-AFP

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