Dec 30 2009
A Somali MUSLIM tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month with powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion on board, officials said today.
The hallmarks bear chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner. Police spokesman Abdulahi Hassan Barise said the suspect was arrested before the November 13 Daallo Airlines flight departed. It was scheduled to travel from Mogadishu to the northern Somali city of Hargeisa, then to Djibouti and Dubai.
Two international officials in Nairobi said the incident is similar to the Detroit attack in that the Somali man had a syringe, a bag of powdered chemicals and liquid. US officials are aware of the incident and hastening to investigate any possible links with the Detroit attack.
The Somali man – whose name has not yet been released – was arrested by African Union peacekeeping troops. “We don’t know whether he’s linked with al-Qaida or other foreign organisations, but his actions were the acts of a terrorist. We caught him red-handed,” he said.
A Nairobi-based diplomat said the incident in Somalia is similar to the attempted attack on the Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day in that the Somali man had a syringe, a bag of powdered chemicals and liquid – tools similar to those used in the Detroit attack.
Western officials say many of the hundreds of foreign jihadi fighters in Somalia come in small boats across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. The officials also say examination of equipment used in some Somali suicide attacks leads them to believe it was originally assembled in Yemen. A Somali security official involved in the capture of the suspect in Mogadishu said he had a 1kg (2.2lb) package of chemical powder and a container of liquid chemicals. The security official said the suspect was the last passenger to try to board.
Once security officials detected the powder chemicals and syringe, the suspect tried to bribe the security team that detained him, the Somali security official said. The security official said the suspect had a white shampoo bottle with a black acid-like substance in it. He also had a clear plastic bag with a light green chalky substance and a syringe containing a green liquid.
The Somali security officials said the Daallo Airlines flight was scheduled to go from Mogadishu to Hargeisa, to Djibouti and then to Dubai. LINK