LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) - The family of the Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a U.S.-bound airliner says he disappeared while studying abroad.
In a statement released Monday morning, the family of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab says that after his "disappearance and stoppage of communications while schooling abroad," his father reached out to Nigerian security agencies two months ago. The statement says the father then approached foreign security agencies for "their assistance to find and return him home."
The family says: "It was while we were waiting for the outcome of their investigation that we arose to the shocking news of that day."
The statement did not offer any specifics on where Abdulmutallab had been.
Our family, like the rest of the world, were woken up in the early hours of Saturday, 26th December, 2009 to the news of an attempt to blow up a plane by a young Nigerian man, who was later identified as Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab. Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab is the son of Alhaji (Dr.) Umaru AbdulMutallab, the head of this Family.
Prior to this incident, his father, having become concerned about his disappearance and stoppage of communication while schooling abroad, reported the matter to the Nigerian security agencies about two months ago, and to some foreign security agencies about a month and a half ago, then sought their assistance to find and return him home. We provided them with all the information required of us to enable them do this. We were hopeful that they would find and return him home. It was while we were waiting for the outcome of their investigation that we arose to the shocking news of that day.
The disappearance and cessation of communication which got his mother and father concerned to report to the security agencies are completely out of character and a very recent development, as before then, from very early childhood, Farouk, to the best of parental monitoring, had never shown any attitude, conduct or association that would give concern. As soon as concern arose, very recently, his parents, reported it and sought help.
The family will continue to fully cooperate with local and international security agencies towards the investigation of this matter, while we await results of the full investigation.
We, along with the whole world, are thankful to Al-Mighty God that there were no lives lost in the incident. May God continue to protect us all, amen.
Finally, as the matter is being investigated by the various agencies, and has already been mentioned in a US court, the family requests that the press should regard this as the only statement it will make for now.
The Mutallab Family