A man accused of being a ringleader of Islamist group Boko Haram appears to have been radicalised while studying at university in South Wales.
Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche dubbed himself ‘The Lion of God’ and threatened to cut the hands and feet off non-believers while living in Britain.
It is believed the 29-year-old is in custody in Sudan after being arrested on suspicion of carrying out terror attacks in Nigeria which killed more than 90 people.
Boko Haram are also behind the abduction of 300 schoolgirls who are currently being held captive in a forest near the border with Cameroon.
But Ogwuche is a university drop-out who appears to have become radicalised while studying at the University of Glamorgan from 2007 to 2010.
The University of Glamorgan is now the University of South Wales.
Ogwuche studied for a degree in Business Science while living in Pontypridd.»
He was a member of the university’s debating society and wrote on an online professional profile: “I used to be in the military back at home and my goal now is to be a successful businessman.”
He failed to finish the course but was a regular at the campus prayer room where he would regularly pray with fellow students.
Friends have told of their shock that he was alleged to be involved with the Nigerian terror group which outraged the world by seizing the schoolgirls.
Mustafa Ja, a Dutch student who studied at the university from 2009 to 2011, said he had met Amin several times in the prayer room on campus.
He said: “I’m shocked. Wow, I’m just really shocked. I used to meet him during Friday prayers and whenever we broke our fast at the mosque on campus.
“He didn’t seem to have any extremist views then – police officers would come and visit the prayer room regularly, so I don’t see how he could.”
A former house mate who said he knew him briefly during his time in Pontypridd said former students found it “very creepy” that Ogwuche may have become caught up in terrorism.
Anju Moro said: “He was very devout but then many people are. He would often just spend time in his room between going to and from prayers but he seemed harmless, if very serious.
“It is very creepy that he could have been having thoughts like that but he disappeared years ago so I suppose you can never know can you?”
While living in South Wales posts on his social media page became more and more extreme.
In early 2010 a chilling post on Facebook said: “Those who strive in the path of Allah love death like the kuffar love life, hahaha. Let them know, we are always ready to meet our lord anytime he wills.”
In 2011 after a series of increasingly extreme posts he wrote: “The only punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is that they should be murdered, or crucified, or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides, or they should be imprisoned.”
Another post said: “We warn you to give up your disobeyance to Allah and surrender to him or wait we bring your humiliation then you will be regretful and on the knees.”
His profile picture is of a lion with the word “Asadullah”, meaning ‘Lion of God’.
He is a member Paltalk – the world’s largest online video chat community boasting more than four million members.
But it has also been abused by Muslim extremists to preach hate.
Anjem Choudary, founder of the banned group Islam 4 UK, Omar Bakri Mohammed, who caused outrage in Britain by praising the hijackers behind the September 11, 2001 attacks and was banned from re-entering the UK in the wake of the 7/7 bombings, and Abdullah el-Faisal, who was deported in 2007, were said to have joined forces to use the site to preach their message around the world.
At the same time as Ogwuche was seemingly posting messages of hate, he was advertising himself as a respectable business professional online where he claimed he had completed his degree course in business studies.
He also claimed he had previously worked for the Nigerian Army’s intelligence division.
After leaving Britain in November 2011 he was arrested at Abuja airport on arrival from the UK on suspected terrorism-related activities but was released to the care of his father, a retired army colonel, following protests from rights groups.
He has since been arrested in Sudan where he is suspected of being the co-mastermind of a two bomb attacks in the past month in a suburb of Abuja, the Nigerian capital, which more killed than 90 people.
Five Boko Haram militants have been arrested as suspects in the car bombings in Nyanya on April 14 and May 1 this year, security officials said.
Information they provided pointed to Ogwuche and another man, Rufai Abubakar Tsiga, as masterminds.
Ogwuche reportedly served in the intelligence unit of the Nigerian army but deserted in 2006, according to Nigeria’s Ministry of Information.
A spokesperson for the University of South Wales said: “Aminu Ogwuche was a student at the former University of Glamorgan between 2007 and 2010 but didn’t go on to complete his studies at the university.
“The university has a strong community ethos with no history or evidence of extremist behaviour across any of its campuses so it is surprised to hear of his apparent involvement with terrorist group Boko Haram.
“There were no reported indications of extremist behaviour during his time as a student.
“There has been no contact between Mr Ogwuche and the University following his departure in 2010.”