The United States has disclosed that the Nigerian terrorist, Umar Farouk Abdul-Mutallab, who attempted suicide bombing on Christmas Day in 2009, failed to successfully detonate his underpants bomb on a Detroit bound plane because the explosives became ‘degraded’ after he wore the same pair of underpants for two weeks.
The U.S. Head of Transportation Security Administration, John Pistole, said at a forum during the week that Mutallab was able to light the bomb but it failed to explode, causing minor burns to the would-be bomber but sparing his fellow passengers.
When he was then asked what had happened to the device, Mr. Pistole replied that it had become damp due to the length of days in the bombers underwear.
The 23 year old Abdul-Mutallab confessed to and was convicted of attempting to detonate plastic explosives while aboard a northwest airlines flight 253, en route from Amsterdam to Detroit, United States.
The Defence Headquarters on Wednesday said that it would not react to the purported video clip released by the Islamic fundamentalists, Boko Haram in which it listed conditions for the release of the French family it is holding hostage. The military is making this remark after a shocking video surfaced Monday on YouTube, showing masked gunmen in camouflage standing over their captives: four boys, their parents and the boys’ uncle.
One of the masked men in the released video, was said to have read a statement demanding that Nigeria and Cameroon free jailed members of Boko Haram, which is battling to establish Islamic rule in northern Nigeria, and their families.
“Meet all the demands we have mentioned, and if you leave out one of them, we will kill these hostages,” the masked man reportedly said.
The Director of Defence Information, Colonel Mohammed Yerima at a press conference in Abuja, however, said the members of the sect knew how to reach the Joint Task Force to make their demands.
He also announced the deployment of more officers and men to the African-led International Support Mission to Mali as part of efforts to restore peace in that country
The Minister of Defence, Bello Mohammed on Wednesday said that the Federal government does not support the move by a U.S congress to designate extremist group, Boko Haram a “foreign terrorist organisation” because this could hamper dialogue with the sect.
The Minister said this while responding to questions from a Reuters correspondent on the sideline of a meeting between South Africa and Nigeria in Cape Town.
“We are looking at a dialogue to establish the grievances of the Boko Haram. I think the attempt to declare them an international terrorist organization will not be helpful,” he said.
The Federal Government held indirect talks with Boko Haram in March, but discussions broke down quickly and the militant group said it could not trust the government. It is unclear whether government efforts to resume links have borne fruit since.
Pressure has been growing on the Obama administration to formally designate Boko Haram a “foreign terrorist organisation.”
Scott Brown, a Republican senator from Massachusetts, wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton late last week, urging her to designate the group as a terrorist organization.
U.S. Representatives Peter King and Patrick Meehan, chairmen of the House Homeland Security Committee and its counterterrorism subcommittee, released a letter they sent to Clinton suggesting the administration was moving too slowly.
Boko Haram, which means “western education is sinful”, has claimed responsibility for months of attacks in northern Nigeria. Its attacks have mainly targeted the police, churches and outdoor drinking areas.
“Boko Haram is not operating in America and America is not operating in Nigeria,” said Mohammed. “They are not involved in our internal security operations, so I don’t think it would be of much significance really in that respect. But we don’t support it.”