6 July 2012A court in Nigeria has charged two men with having links to the terrorist group al-Qaida and planning to recruit new members and transport them to Yemen.
The two Nigerians, Olaniyi Lawal and Luqman Babatunde, pleaded not guilty Thursday at a federal court in the capital, Abuja.
Prosecutors accuse the two men of receiving more than $6,000 from the group al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to recruit and transport prospective members. The Islamist group, formed in 2009, is active mostly in Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation, is split between a mainly Christian south and a predominantly Muslim north. It has been plagued by a series of deadly attacks in recent years blamed on another Islamist militant group, Boko Haram.
Experts note that spinoffs of the original al-Qaida, formed by Osama bin Laden, are more active in their local communities where they cause death and destruction, than in the West.
But the Yemeni-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula is under an international watch because of its failed attempts to bomb U.S. and other Western targets.