A Nigerian man connected with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula appeared in a Brooklyn court today. Lawal Olaniyi Babafemi, 33, was arraigned in Brooklyn Federal Court today on charges of providing material support to Al-Qaeda in Yemen, recruiting new members in Nigeria, and helping to run the organization’s English-language lifestyle magazine/propaganda machine, Inspire.
According to the indictment, Babafemi travelled from Nigeria to Yemen twice between January 2010 and August 2011. While there, he trained with the Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda and helped them produce their English-language magazine Inspire. Babafemi worked directly under the now-deceased Anwar Al-Awlaki, the head of propaganda for the terrorist organization who was killed in a CIA drone strike in September 2011.
Inspire was a vital part of Al-Qaeda’s operations in the Arabian Peninsula, offering lifestyle tips, Islamist propaganda, and bomb-making instructions to aspiring jihadists.
Babafemi was also responsible for recruiting members in his native Nigeria, where he had been jailed since August 2011 until his extradition the United States. According to the Department of Justice, Babafemi’s going budget for recruitment activities was $9,000.
“As alleged, the defendant trained with Al-Qaeda, assisted in its propaganda efforts, and actively recruited others to join its demented cause. We will continue to work with our international partners to mitigate the global terrorist threat,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Venizelos in a statement.
Babafemi was indicted on two counts of material support of a terrorist organization and and two counts of the use of firearms in the furtherance of that material support. Each material support count carries up to 15 years in prison; each weapons count has a maximum life sentence.
On the next page is a copy of the full indictment from the Department of Justice.