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Nigerian charged with aiding al Qaeda's Yemen affiliate

NEW YORK -- A Nigerian man was arraigned Friday on charges of providing material support to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terrorist organization’s Yemen-based affiliate, and criminal use of firearms.

According to a five-page indictment, Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi, 33, traveled twice from Nigeria to Yemen in 2010 and 2011 to meet and train with leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).


Among other things, Babafemi assisted in AQAP’s English-language media operations, which include the publication of the propaganda magazine “Inspire,” the indictment said. He also was given the equivalent of nearly $9,000 in cash by Anwar al-Awlaki to recruit other English speakers from Nigeria to join that group and also received weapons training, the FBI said. Al-Awalki is the  American cleric turned AQAP commander killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.

Babafemi, who also was known by the nom de guerre “Ayatollah Mustapha,” according to the charging papers, was indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of New York on Feb. 21, and subsequently arrested and extradited from Nigeria.

Babafemi was due to be appear in federal court in Brooklyn for his arraignment.

WNBC's Jonathan Dienst contributed to this report.

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