Days ago, precisely on August 15th, 2015, news broke out that a notorious Islamic State (ISIS) cleric and leader was arrested in Lebanon while trying to get into Nigeria. The prominent leader of the bloodiest terror network, Ahmed Al Assir, who has been missing from public light and has been on the run for over two years was arrested by Lebanese authorities on Saturday as he attempted to fly out of the country on a forged passport and a legitimate Nigerian visa.
He was caught at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport while trying to board a flight to Egypt with a valid Nigerian visa. He was wearing a different look, with a jacket and sweater instead of the usual religious robes and headwear. He also shaved his long beard and seemed to have had plastic surgery to alter his appearance in order to beat the security check. Egypt was only supposed to serve as his route to the West African nation, according to Lebanon’s general security directorate.
Mr. Al Assir became one of the most wanted men in Lebanon after his militia went to battle with the Lebanese army in the port city of Sidon in 2013, resulting in the deaths of 18 soldiers and dozens of Mr. Al Assir’s gunmen.
Mr. Al Assir had since kept a low profile. Some even believed him to have been dead but the Lebanese authorities still kept him in their watch list. Now, his intended visit to Nigeria has generated a lot of questions, especially among the citizens of the most populous black nation on earth.
The Nigerian government however, has ordered a full investigation into how a wanted terrorist was granted Nigerian Visa in Lebanon to visit the country. The government is said to the amazed at how the known terrorist, who has been on the wanted list of several governments, managed to get a valid visa into the country. The Nigeria Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since swung into a full investigation on how the visa was issued.
An official of the ministry who didn’t want to be mentioned said:
“The reported arrest of the wanted terrorist is a huge embarrassment to Nigeria and the President has directed that the matter should be investigated. The embassy in Lebanon has been directed to furnish the ministry with details of how the man got the visa. The National Intelligence Agency Officer has been directed to provide details of what happened,” the official said.
The reason Mr. Al Assir chose to come into Nigeria is yet to be known, even though many believe that it’s as a result of the growth and successes of the Nigeria terror group, Boko Haram who continue to hold the North-Eastern part of the country siege. It should be recalled that earlier this year, Boko Haram announced its affiliation with the Islamic State (ISIS).