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Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: Bomb suspect's teacher and family shocked

Nigerian Information Minister Dora Akunyili told reporters Sunday that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab passed through Nigeria for only one day before attempting to blow up a Northwest flight headed for Detroit via Amsterdam.

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A street is cordoned-off with police tape while police officers search a flat in connection with an attack on a US passenger jet, in London, Sunday.

Luke MacGrego/Reuters

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A Nigerian man who tried and failed to blow up a plane over Detroit “sneaked” into his native country the day before his botched Christmas Day attempt, leaving his father shocked and regretful, Nigeria’s information minister said Sunday.

Information Minister Dora Akunyili told reporters Sunday that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab passed through Nigeria for only one day before attempting to blow up a Northwest flight headed for Detroit via Amsterdam.

“The man in question has been living outside of the country for a while,” she said. “He sneaked into Nigeria on the 24th of December 2009 and left the same day.”

She did not elaborate or say where Abdulmutallab entered Nigeria or where he had lived previously. Nigerian officials said Saturday that they would launch their own investigation into the incident and cooperate with US investigators. She said Abdulmutallab’s father, a top banker, had previously warned US officials about his son’s activities.

“The father, Alhaji Umar Mutallab, who is a responsible and respected Nigerian, with a true Nigerian spirit, had earlier reported his concern about his son’s activities to relevant American authorities,” she said. “The father has already expressed deep shock and regret over his son’s actions.”

On Saturday, US officials charged Abdulmutallab with trying to destroy the plane. A conviction on the charge could bring Abdulmutallab up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

One of Abdulmutallab’s former teachers said he was shocked to hear the news. He said on Sunday that Abdulmutallab was so well-respected in high school that classmates nicknamed him “the Pope.”

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