Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Muslim cleric had extensive links in Botswana

Abdullah al-Faisal, the Muslim cleric who was deported from Botswana on suspicions that he was recruiting young Batswana to become suicide bombers, met with officials from the South African and Nigerian High Commission and the Botswana Muslim Association during his stay in the country.

al-Faisal recently grabbed international headlines when authorities in Kenya also deported him to Gambia, citing his radical Islam and links to a controversial Yemeni cleric.

Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that two young Batswana who are known to this paper are currently under surveillance by law enforcement agencies after evidence emerged to the effect that they were at some point under the tutelage of al-Faisal. Apparently he trained them to become suicide bombers and also used them to recruit young Batswana to become terrorists targeting the South Africa2010 World Cup.

The chairman of Botswana Muslim Association Satar Dada has confirmed that they met with al-Faisal during his stay in Botswana. He explained that al-Faisal wanted the Muslim association to employ him as a religious lecturer. However, he said, the association could not offer him a job.

“As a matter of fact, we only learnt through the media that al-Faisal had been deported from Botswana. We thought that he might still be in the country or that he might have left to seek employment elsewhere” he said.

Dada reiterated the Muslim Association’s commitment to upholding the security and laws of Botswana, saying that they strongly support the deportation of anyone who might pose a security threat to the country.

Minister of Defense, Justice and Security Dikgakagamatso Seretse also echoed Dada’s words, saying that the government has a duty to protect its citizens, and will therefore continue deporting undesirable elements who pose a security threat to the nation.

al-Faisal was declared a prohibited immigrant after the South African authorities refused to grant him entry into the country from Botswana. When he tried to return to Botswana, he was immediately declared a prohibited immigrant and escorted to Ramokgwebane border post, at which point he said he wanted to go to Tanzania.

He is also said to have visited the South African High Commission office in Gaborone. Sunday Standard could however not get confirmation from the South African High Commissioner as he was said to be out of the country.

The Nigerian embassy was also unable to comment on his visit as the relevant officials were said to be on leave.

al-Faisal is also said to have had links with a controversial Yemeni cleric who is accused of influencing young Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up an American airliner over Christmas.

While he was in Botswana, al-Faisal had the opportunity to make public lectures at the University of Botswana. He also conducted another lecture at Boipuso Hall, in Gaborone and visited Molepolole and Lentsweletau. Security agents also revealed that al-Faisal had also wanted to establish a youth development facility, which he would employ as a pretext to train Batswana to become suicide bombers.

In the latest developments, at least five people after police shot at a demonstration by young Muslims who were calling for him to be released. Kenyan authorities are currently holding al-Faisal without charge after failing to deport him. After his arrest on 31 December 2009, al-Faisal indicated that he wanted to go to Gambia. But Kenya was unable to send him there because airlines in Nigeria refused to carry him. Al-Faisal’s native Jamaica would not accept him. Tanzania has also refused to let him re-enter its territory.

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