The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Loretta Lynch, reported on Tuesday that a criminal indictment was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., alleging that a Nigerian national provided material support to an Islamic terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaeda.
According to the indictment, 33-year-old Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi, a/k/a “Abdullah” and “Ayatollah Mustapha,” from Nigeria, provided material support to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a terrorist group currently plaguing the Arab nation of Yemen. In addition, the indictment alleges that Babafemi used high-powered firearms during the commission of his felony.
The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking the extradition of the defendant from the nation of Nigeria, which is also at war with another al-Qaeda affiliate, the Boko Haram. Lynch acknowledged the continued cooperation and assistance of Nigeria's government in combating terrorists who affect both nations.
According to court documents, between January 2010 and August 2011, Babafemi traveled twice from Nigeria to Yemen to meet and train with leaders of AQAP. Part of his activity was receiving weapons training from AQAP terrorism instructors.
Babafemi also aided the AQAP’s English-language media operations, which include the publication of the notorious magazine “Inspire.”
The AQAP commander Anwar al-Aulaqi, who was later killed by security forces, provided Babafemi with the equivalent of about $9,000 in cash to assist AQAP's war efforts by recruiting other English-speakers from Nigeria.
On Feb. 21, 2013, a grand jury in the Eastern District of New York returned a sealed indictment charging the defendant with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to AQAP; one count of providing and attempting to provide material support to AQAP; one count of unlawful use of machine guns; and one count of conspiracy to unlawfully use machine guns.
At the request of U.S. officials in July 2013, the Nigerian government began extradition proceedings against the suspected terrorist.