SANA'A // Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian charged with trying to blow up a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day, stayed in Yemen illegally for over two months, according to the principal of his former school. "Umar stayed with us from August 4 till September 21. We arranged a taxi to take him to the airport after sending his departure permit letter ... to the immigration and passport authority but we are surprised that he did not leave and stayed until December," Mohammed al Anisi, head of Sana'a Institute for the Arabic Language, said yesterday.
Mr al Anisi said usually the airport authority reports to the institute any case of a student violating the immigration laws but this did not happen in Mr Abdulmutallab's case. "Usually, if some of our students prolong their stay or leave without our approval, they are stopped at the airport and fined or sent back to have our approval. Even if the student is fined, we are always informed by the airport authority people. This did not happen in the case of Umar," Mr al Anisi said.
People who prolong their stay after their visa expires are fined 300 Yemeni rials (Dh5.5) per day. Yemeni intelligence authorities are questioning airport officers who were on duty during the departure of Mr Abdulmutallab, suspecting that some people might have facilitated his leaving without fining him or contacting his institute to question his prolonged stay, according to a security official who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.