Nigerian Terror Suspects: We Were Questioned by Mossad Agents
Two Lebanese suspects alleged to be members of the Hizbullah terror group and on trial in Nigeria on terrorism charges told a court Monday they were harshly interrogated by Israeli agents after their arrests, according to the AFP news agency.
Mustapha Fawaz, Abdallah Thahini and Talal Ahmad Roda were arrested in May after the discovery of an arms cache in a residence in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.
They have been accused of plotting attacks against Western and Israeli targets in Nigeria and have denied the charges.
Fawaz testified on Monday that, after his arrest in Abuja, a security official told him "some European friends" wanted to ask him questions.
"I was taken to an interrogation room where I met three Israeli Mossad agents," Fawaz told the court in response to questions by his lawyer, according to AFP.
Fawaz said one of the interrogators identified himself as a Mossad agent. He said they were "crude and nasty."
"They handcuffed my hands behind my back for days. I lost count because they did not allow me to sleep for several days," Fawaz said, denying membership in Hizbullah.
"They asked if I have any weapon in Abuja ... They asked if I have been asked to do any operation in Nigeria or anywhere else in the world," Fawaz said.
He added, "During the 14 days of interrogation, I was interrogated by six Israeli Mossad agents and one masked white man.
"I was interrogated in Arabic. I asked to be interrogated in English, but they refused. Most of them are weak in English. They are not Europeans, but Israelis," charged Fawaz.
Fawaz said no Nigerian official was present during the sessions.
"They asked me about my link with Hizbullah, but they concentrated more on Lebanon -- whether I knew if there are weapons stored in the south of Lebanon or the identities of people who have been trained by Hizbullah," AFP quoted him as having said.
Thahini, who told the court he was no longer a member of Hizbullah, gave a similar account during his testimony.
He claimed to have collapsed after being denied sleep for five days by the foreign interrogators.
Thahini said it was easy for him to identify them as Israelis by their accents "because we are neighbors."
Both Fawaz and Thahini denied any knowledge of the arms cache discovered in Kano.
An Israeli embassy spokesman did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Justice Adeniyi Adetokunbo Ademola adjourned the case to September 30 after both the prosecutors and the defense closed their cases.
The three suspects are believed to own a supermarket and an amusement park in Abuja, but the businesses have been shuttered since the arrests.
A fourth suspect is said to be on the run, reported AFP.
In February, Nigeria arrested three people suspected of being members of an Iran-linked terror cell planning attacks on U.S. and Israeli interests in Lagos, the commercial capital.