Nigerian terror suspect described as loner by friends

Nigerian terror suspect described as loner by friendsNairobi/Abuja, Dec 28 - Friends of Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who allegedly tried to blow up a passenger jet in Detroit Dec 25, described him as a pious loner, but not one who had ever showed an interest in political violence, reported a Nigerian newspaper Monday.

Abdulmutallab was religious, but focussed more on daily situations or moral questions, not politics, a childhood friend told the Daily Trust newspaper. He never came across as a religious extremist, the friend told the newspaper.

A school friend described Abdulmutallab as a withdrawn young man with few friends who would not even shake hands with women. Yet another friend said that Abdulmutallab, the son of a former minister and banker, used money from his family primarily to buy religious texts.

Abdulmutallab allegedly tried to set off an explosion using PETN, also known as pentaerythritol, on a plane as it tried to land in Detroit after its nine-hour flight from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He was stopped by passengers and cabin crew. Criminal charges were brought against him Saturday.

Abdulmutallab left Nigeria earlier this year to pursue his education. He eventually travelled to Yemen, apparently to improve his Arabic, cutting off all contact to his family shortly after arriving there.

According to Nigerian media reports, Abdulmutallab's father had contacted US officials out of concern over his son's growing militancy, a move praised as courageous by Nigerian media Monday. (dpa)