US plane suspect 'disappeared' mid-year in Dubai, was living in Yemen until early this month
Source: BI-ME and AFP , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Tue December 29, 2009 2:10 pm

INTERNATIONAL. The Nigerian man accused of trying to blow up a US plane using explosives hidden in his underwear "disappeared" from an Australian university's Dubai campus just months ago, an official said Tuesday.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, spent several months at the University of Wollongong's Dubai branch until he vanished mid-year, vice-chancellor Gerard Sutton told ABC radio.

"He commenced in January 2009 but disappeared from the residences around the middle of the year and was excluded from the second semester around August, September, October on the basis of non-payment of fees," he said.

Sutton said Abdulmutallab, who also studied in London, had not shown any worrying signs while studying in Dubai for a master's degree in international business.

"He was a normal student, a student that was passing his subjects," he said. "We had no background on any of his activities outside the university."

Abdulmutallab was tackled by passengers after allegedly activating an explosive device, setting fire to his clothes, on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam as it prepared to land in Detroit on Christmas Day.

Yemeni officials said today that Abdulmutallab was living in the country until earlier this month.

The foreign ministry said Abdulmutallab was in Yemen from August until the beginning of December, the official Saba news agency reported.

He had a visa to study Arabic at an institute in the capital Sanaa, the news provider said.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama said he would not rest until those involved in the attempt were brought to justice.

 

MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS COMMENT & ANALYSIS

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UAE. Low oil prices will constrain the amount of funding available to Gulf sovereigns and banks to support the region's substantial infrastructure bill in coming years; S&P projects a gap as large as $270 billion through 2019 between capital spending for projects and project contracts awarded.
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