Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula Operative Pleads Guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court
Earlier today, Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi, a Nigerian citizen, pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Today’s plea took place before United States District Judge John Gleeson. At sentencing, Babafemi faces a maximum of 30 years in prison.
The guilty plea was announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; and John P. Carlin, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
“The defendant traveled to Yemen to put himself at the disposal of a violent terrorist organization that has repeatedly demonstrated its determination to inflict bodily and economic harm on the United States and its citizens,” stated United States Attorney Lynch. “After meeting and training the defendant, senior leaders of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula dispatched him back to Nigeria with instructions and funding to recruit others to join the terrorist group. The defendant’s guilty plea to terrorism charges is a testament to the tireless work of the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces in New York and San Diego in gathering evidence around the world in order to bring the defendant to justice.” Ms. Lynch also expressed her grateful appreciation to the government of Nigeria for its assistance and cooperation in this extradition.
According to previous court filings, between approximately January 2010 and August 2011, the defendant traveled twice from Nigeria to Yemen to meet and train with leaders of AQAP, the Yemen-based branch of al Qaeda. Babafemi assisted in AQAP’s English-language media operations, which include the publication of the magazine Inspire. At the direction of the now-deceased senior AQAP commander Anwar al-Aulaqi, Babafemi was provided by AQAP leadership with the equivalent of almost $9,000 in cash to recruit other English-speakers from Nigeria to join that group. While in Yemen, Babafemi also received weapons training from AQAP.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Zainab Ahmad and Hilary Jager, with assistance from Trial Attorneys William M. Narus and Annamartine Salick of the Justice Department’s Counterterrorism Section, as well as from the Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs.
LAWAL OLANIYI BABAFEMI