Nigerian Arrested for Attempting to Detonate Explosives Inside Northwest Airlines Plane

A Nigerian is in security custody after being arrested for attempting to detonate explosives during a transatlantic flight from Holland to Detroit, Michigan in the USA.

Witnesses say the man strapped powdery explosives to his ankle, then tried to ignite them inside the plane. Other passengers saw him, then pounced on and restrained him – before taking him to a seat at the front of the plane. The plane’s pilot then radioed for security and emergency services to be ready on the ground. This was reminiscent of the manner in which the “shoe bomber” Richard  Reid was similarly subdued by passengers after trying to detonate explosives he hid in his shoes during a transatlantic flight in 2001.

The man’s name is Farouk Abdul Mutallab, aged 23. He is said to be a Nigerian student at University College London, and the intelligence services apparently already had his name in connection with terrorist links.

You can see a photo of the suspect being arrested inside the plane’s cockpit by clicking here:

After being arrested, Mutallab claimed he received the explosives in Yemen and was told by al-Qaeda to detonate them.

None of the 278 passengers and 11 crew aboard were killed, although Mutallab and another passenger were treated for burns.

Nigerian newspapers are reporting that Mutallab’s father’s was the former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Dr. Umaru Abdul Mutallab. Dr Mutallab was born in Katsina – the home state of Nigeria’s President Umaru Musa Yar’adua.  It also appears that Mutallab’s father was aware of his son’s extremist tendencies and reported him to the security forces:

Other news’ outlets coverage of the attempted bombing:

Sources say a man burnt his leg trying to ignite explosives on the jet, which had 278 passengers and 11 crew aboard, but nobody else was seriously hurt.

In custody, the Nigerian suspect said he had been acting on behalf of al-Qaeda, a police source said.

President Barack Obama has ordered increased security for air travel.

Passengers from the flight described what they saw during the incident

The White House spokesman Bill Burton said the president was monitoring the situation.

Northwest Airlines Flight 253 had been about 20 minutes away from landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on Friday afternoon when the incident occurred.

Reports quote officials as saying the suspect seems to have tried to ignite some kind of incendiary device.

Melinda Dennis, a passenger, said the man had been severely burned on one leg, and a fire extinguisher and water were used to put out the fire.

1995: Al-Qaeda plots to blow up US airliners over the Pacific in “Operation Bojinka”
2001: Briton Richard Reid tries to blow up a Paris-Miami flight with 197 people on board using explosives hidden in his shoes
2006: Police in Britain foil a series of attacks on transatlantic flights using liquid bombs disguised as soft drinks

Another passenger, Syed Jafri, said he had been seated three rows behind the suspect and had seen a glow and noticed a smoke smell.

Then, he said, “a young man behind me jumped on him”.

“Next thing you know, there was a lot of panic,” Mr Jafri added.

As the suspect was being tackled, he was reportedly shouting and a passenger said she had heard the word “Afghanistan”.

‘Taped to his leg’

Another unnamed passenger heard a “little pop”, then saw “a bit of a smoke and then some flames”.

A robot, followed by an official, approaches the airliner as it stands at Detroit airport

A robot could be seen examining the plane with an official nearby

After “yelling and screaming”, the passenger added, “they took him out and it was really quick”.

The suspect later told the US authorities he had had explosive powder taped to his leg and used a syringe of chemicals to mix with the powder that was to cause explosion, the ABC television network reports.

A US intelligence official quoted by AP said an explosive device had been used consisting of a “mix of powder and liquid”.

Peter King, who sits on the US House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, said the suspect had third-degree burns.

The New York Republican named the detainee as Abdul Mudallad, 23, a Nigerian national whose name, he said, was in a database indicating “a significant terrorist connection” although it did not appear on a “no-fly” list.


Mr Mutallab, whose name was given elsewhere as Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, reportedly told investigators he had links to al-Qaeda and had received the explosives in Yemen.

According to some US and Dutch media reports, he is a student at University College London.

Mr King also said investigators were looking into whether the incident was part of a larger plot and a “worldwide alert” had been raised.

The Department of Homeland Security said “additional screening measures” had been put into effect since the incident.

At least one passenger was taken to the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor.

Susan Elliott, a spokeswoman for Delta, Northwest’s parent company, said the airline was co-operating with the investigation.


One response

  1. Our leaders have stolen so much money that they now use it to breed terrorists, while othes suffer in Naija…

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