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ISLAMIC STATE | ISIS Fugitive Al-Assir Arrested With Valid Nigerian Visa

by on August 18, 2015
 

By Yemi Adebowale

A radical Muslim cleric, Ahmad Al-Assir has been arrested by Lebanese authorities as he attempted to leave Lebanon to Nigeria via Cairo.

Assir was apprehended while attempting to travel with a fake Palestinian passport and a valid Nigerian visa at the Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport early Saturday, August 15, 2015 in Lebanon, according to a statement released by General Security, Lebanon’s security directorate.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reports that Assir, who was traveling with another man, was holding a fake passport in the name of Rami Abdul Rahman Taleb, while his companion was holding a passport in the name of Khaled Sidani. The driver who drove Assir to the airport in a Mercedes Benz was later arrested.

Alexander Mukhtar Dan’Iyan, editor-in-chief of the 15Past8 Media Group based in New York City, who tweets via @MrAyeDee on Twitter, says that Assir is the ”unofficial de-facto Emir of ISIS in Lebanon”.

Assir’s terror links to ISIS has provoked serious questions for the Nigerian government. How was a globally wanted terror suspect with links to ISIS issued a valid Nigerian visa? What really was the purpose of Assir’s visit to Nigeria? Is it possible that ISIS is getting help in Nigeria? From who?

Al Assir became one of the most wanted men in Lebanon after his militia went to battle with the Lebanese army in the port city of Sidon in 2013, resulting in the deaths of 18 soldiers and dozens of Mr Al Assir’s gunmen.

A composite picture of Ahmad al-Assir, with the image on the right showing his most recent appearance. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Daily Star Lebanon)

A composite picture of Ahmad al-Assir, with the image on the right showing his most recent appearance. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Daily Star Lebanon)

When the war in Syria began emboldening extremist Sunnis in Lebanon and inflaming sectarian tensions here, Mr Al Assir swiftly rose from obscurity to become a powerful voice. From his modest Bilal Bin Rabah mosque in the southern city of Sidon, he railed against Hizbollah and later the Lebanese state, accusing them of subjugating Lebanon’s Sunni community.

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The incursion of ISIS into a Boko Haram ravaged Nigeria gives Nigerian authorities more cause to worry as Boko Haram attacks continue to increase since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015.

In March 2015, Richard Grenell, a former spokesman for four United States Ambassadors to the United Nations, raised an alarm about the dangers of a Buhari presidency for Nigeria and the whole of Africa.

In an article titled “Nigeria on the brink” which was published in the Washington Times, a US based publication, Grenell observed that the former military Head of State was working tirelessly to introduce the Sharia law across the country, which according to him would further pose a major challenge to the fight against terrorism in Nigeria and Africa in it’s entirety.

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READ: Nigeria on the brink – Washington Times

Muhammadu Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari

Ahmad Al-Asir

Ahmad Al-Asir

According to Grenell, “Western foreign policy observers pre-occupied with the rise of ISIS in the Middle East should wake up to the reality unfolding in Nigeria. Opposition candidate General Buhari wants Sharia law throughout Nigeria. In fact, he wants it everywhere.

“Is this an indication that Buhari supports violence because the end goal of the terrorist attacks throughout Nigeria and Africa is an Islamic state? It is a legitimate question that should be asked by leaders of the Obama administration.

“Boko Haram has pledged its allegiance and support to ISIS. The Northern Nigerian based Islamic terrorist group wants Sharia law throughout the country and beyond. They are also actively terrorising Chad, Niger and Cameroon with their goal of an Islamic state.

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“Buhari has also spoken sympathetically about members of the terrorist group Boko Haram, has cautioned against a rush to judgement on its members and has personally been selected by the terrorist group to lead its negotiations with the Government of Nigeria.

“Buhari’s election as Nigeria’s head of state would be a disaster for Africa. It would also signal trouble for the West’s fight against ISIS and terrorism throughout the Middle East.”

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  • Kabiru Turaki
    August 22, 2015 at 11:59 pm

    To me President Buhari is miraculously sent by God to save the nation. Rivals should leave him alone to fulfil his promises.

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