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YEMEN - The government has taken new administrative and security measures taken by Yemen concerning the foreign students desiring to come to Yemen for studying last Tuesday. It seems that they are precautionary measures following the discovery of the presence of the Nigerian national Omar Farouq Abdulmutalib in Yemen, revealed official spokesman for the Yemeni government, the Minister of Information, Hassan al-Lawzi.
Omar Farouq Abdulmutalib, 23, a Muslim Nigerian youth and a son of a rich banker, was arrested last Friday in the wake of his attempt to blast an American Airbus 330 plane while it was on a trip from Amsterdam to Detroit.
The person obtained a visa to study the Arabic language in Yemen. Al-Lawzi clarified that Abdulmutalib was present in Yemen in the period of 2004-2005 and from the beginning of August to the beginning of December 2009.
Al-Lawzi affirmed that Yemen was not aware that Abdulmutalib is affiliated to terrorist groups and his name was not in the list of terrorists. On the contrary, he added, Yemen found out that his passport allows him to visit any country, including the United States. If Yemen had known he was affiliated to terrorist groups it would have taken the necessary measures and prevented him from leaving Yemen, said al-Lawzi.
Saleh Hussain al-Zawarei, Deputy Minister of Interior, said that an al-Qaeda base in Yemen threatened of more attacks against the Yemeni government, in retaliation for its air raid against al-Qaeda camps that led to killing of 64 terrorists and 29 al-Qaeda operatives were arrested in those operations.
He stressed that Yemen is a land of peace, and security will never be a safe haven for these terrorists, murderers, and drug dealers.
Security authorities warned that there is no compromise with terrorism and they will be relentless in the pursuit of terrorists. The source commended the pre-emptive successful operations launched by the army against al-Qaeda terrorists' hideouts.
Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, in an interview with BBC Radio said that Yemen had the will and ability to deal with al-Qaeda, but was undermined by a lack of support.
Al-Qirbi told the BBC the conflict with al-Qaeda was a priority for the Yemeni government.
He appealed for more help from the international community to help train and equip Yemeni counter-terrorist forces.
"Of course there are a number of al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen and some of their leaders. We realize this danger,” said al-Qirbi.
"They may actually plan attacks like the one we have just had in Detroit. There are maybe hundreds of them — 200, 300."
Al-Qirbi said it was the "responsibility" of countries with strong intelligence capabilities to warn states such as Yemen about the movements of terror suspects.
The United States, Britain and the European Union could do a lot to improve Yemen’s response to militants on its own soil, he added.
"We have to work in a very joint fashion in partnership to combat terrorism," he said. "If we do, the problem will be brought under control.
"There is support, but I must say it is inadequate. We need more training, we have to expand our counter-terrorism units and provide them with equipment and transportation like helicopters,” concluded al-Qirbi.