A Lebanese suspect with alleged links to Hezbollah and on trial in Nigeria for terrorism offences told a court on Friday he was aware of a plot to assassinate Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Abuja.
The alleged plot, which had not previously been made public, came up during questioning of the defendant during the trial of him and two other Lebanese in high court in the Nigerian capital.
The defendant, Talal Ahmad Roda, alleged that another man who is at large was behind a plot to assassinate the ambassador. The man was identifed as Abdulhassan Tahir.
Asked by prosecutor Samuel Edege whether he was aware of the alleged plan, he said “yes” but did not know other details. Questioning then moved on to other subjects.
It was not clear whether anyone sought to put the alleged plot into action or which Saudi ambassador had been targeted for assassination since a name was not provided. The motive for the alleged plot was also not described.
An official at Saudi Arabia’s embassy who did not want his name used said it was unaware of the alleged plot.
“We don’t have any information about this story,” the official said. “We just heard it from you.”
The three men on trial are accused of plotting attacks against Israeli and Western targets in Nigeria as well as having links to Lebanese Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah.
They were charged in June after authorities discovered a cache of arms at a business in Abuja and a private home in the northern city of Kano.
Nigeria is grappling with a deadly Islamist insurgency waged by Boko Haram, but there has been no suggestion of any ties between the Lebanese accused and the Nigerian extremist group.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, is home to a sizeable Lebanese population, including in the mainly Muslim north.
-----PM NEWS NIGERIA