Nigerian Government Grants Visa To ‘ISIS Emir’, A Fugitive Lebanese Cleric (PICTURED)

Nigerian Government Grants Visa To ‘ISIS Emir’, A Fugitive Lebanese Cleric (PICTURED)

By Salisu Sulaimon | Sub-Editor on August 16, 2015
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File: Sheikh Almad Al Assir | AP

A radical Muslim cleric, Ahmad al-Assir has been arrested by Lebanese authorities as he attempted to leave Lebanon to Nigeria via Cairo.

Assir was apprehended while attempting to travel with a fake Palestinian passport and a valid Nigerian visa at the Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport early Saturday, August 15, 2015 in Lebanon, according to a statement released by General Security, Lebanon’s security directorate.

Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reports that Assir, who was travelling with another man, was holding a fake passport in the name of Rami Abdul Rahman Taleb, while his companion was holding a passport in the name of Khaled Sidani. The driver who drove Assir to the airport in a Mercedes Benz was later arrested.

A composite picture of Ahmad al-Assir, with the image on the right showing his most recent appearance. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Daily Star Lebanon)
A composite picture of Ahmad al-Assir, with the image on the right showing his most recent appearance. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Daily Star Lebanon)

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Unconfirmed reports said Assir had shaved off his beard and undergone facial surgery. An unverified photo has been circulating in the Lebanese media purporting to show Assir without his signature bread, and it appears that he has had plastic surgery.

Sheikh Assir has been on the run for two years. He was declared wanted in Lebanon in 2013 when his followers clashed with the Lebanese army killing at least 18 soldiers.

The radical cleric was relatively unknown prior to the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011. But, he quickly gained notoriety as a “a self-proclaimed defender of Sunni rights” due to his fiery anti-Hezbollah rhetoric. Hezbollah is Lebanon’s Shia movement which backs Syria’s President Assad. He had been recruiting his followers to join the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS) in Syria fighting against Assad’s government.

Violence broke out in 2013 when one of Assir’s men was caught with unlicensed weapons in his car at a military checkpoint in Sidon, south of Beirut. In reaction, Assir’s followers opened fire on the soldiers manning the checkpoint sparking a two-day battle between his militants and the army.

According to reports, machine guns and rockets were used on the Lebanese troops by Assir’s men in fierce fighting which ended with at least 18 soldiers and 40 militants dead. Heavy weapons and military-style uniforms were discovered in Assir’s compound.

Assir is regarded as media savvy and is known for his publicity stunts.

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The Valid Nigerian Visa

Alexander Mukhtar Dan’Iyan, the editor-in-chief of the 15Past8 Media Group based in New York City, who goes by the name @MrAyeDee on Twitter, says that Assir is the ”unofficial de-facto Emir of ISIS in Lebanon”.

Assir’s fugitive status and his links with ISIS raise serious questions for the Nigerian government. How would a radical Muslim cleric, a fugitive linked to ISIS be granted a Nigerian visa on a fake Palestinian passport? What was Assir’s mission in Nigeria? Who are his contacts in Nigeria? Who was he communicating with in Nigeria? Where was he planning to stay in Nigeria?

Most importantly, who granted his visa and based on what recommendations?

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The deadly terrorist group, Boko Haram which has killed over 60,000 in Nigeria and displaced millions from their homes in North Eastern Nigeria had last year declared allegiance to ISIS. The group recently spread its operations to neighbouring countries

President Muhammadu Buhari promised to crush Boko Haram in two months after he took office in May. However, there has been no success story against the terrorist group since Buhari was sworn into office.

ALSO READ: How Buhari Has Botched The War Against Insurgency And Brought Boko Haram Back

Nigeria’s intelligence services should be acting on this important information.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I wants Nigeria dss Nia to seriously investigate this matter we not allow to who
    Give visa to enter our country please
    I begging mr president to do something about this thank you Nigeria if the
    Allows him to go I will commit suicide
    I am from nasarawa state from akwanga local government area born and brought
    Up in kaduna 44 hospital kawo

  2. Nigeria government have question to answer we Nigerian. How much did he promise them or gave them before the grant him visa to Nigeria?…..

  3. Nigerians cannot be betrayed by our campaign angelic leaders who promised us many things only to leave us as we loss our fragile life. The fact is that the link is from Nigeria, the letter of recommendation also from Nigeria. Buhari cannot do anything because you cant use the devil to fight the devil it is impossible so let us solely depend on God for our security and future but as for our government officials they have betrayed our trust on them.

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