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Man accused in ’00 killing of US official in Niger

September 18, 2013

NEW YORK (AP) — A fugitive wanted in the fatal carjacking of an American official in Niger in 2000 on the day the victim was to return home to North Carolina has been indicted in a U.S. court, federal prosecutors said Wednesday.

The indictment charging Alhassane Ould Mohamed of Mali with murder of an internationally protected person was unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn. Mohamed is accused of shooting to death William Bultemeier, a Department of Defense attache, and of wounding a Marine as they left a restaurant in the Niger capital of Niamey.

U.S. officials were working with their counterparts in Niger and other West African countries in the hunt for Mohamed.

Mohamed, 42, who’s escaped from prison twice, “should always be looking over his shoulders. It is only a matter of time before he is apprehended,” George Venizelos, the head of FBI’s New York office, said in a statement.

Added U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch: “The United States will work ceaselessly to bring those who harm our diplomats and military personnel to justice.”

Bultemeier, then 51, was deployed to the U.S. embassy in Niamey in July 2000 and was scheduled to return to North Carolina on Dec. 23, 2000.

On Dec. 22, Bultemeier, Marine Staff Sgt. Christopher McNeely and other embassy employees went to dinner at a restaurant called La Cloche. Bultemeier was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser with diplomatic license plates.

As Bultemeier left the restaurant shortly after midnight, he was accosted by Mohamed and another unidentified man armed with a pistol and an AK-47 assault rifle, the indictment says.

Mohamed allegedly demanded the keys to the SUV before shooting Bultemeier in the chest with the pistol. When McNeely tried to intervene, the second man used the AK-47 to shoot both victims, the indictment says.

After Mohamed pulled the keys from Bultemeier’s pocket, both men drove away in the SUV. McNeely survived the attack “but suffered lasting injuries,” the indictment says.

Mohamed was arrested in Mali two days after the killing, U.S. authorities said. He remained in custody there until he escaped in 2002.

In late 2009, Mohamed was arrested again in Mali in the killings of four Saudi Arabian nationals in northern Niger. He was sent back to Niger where he was convicted of the murders and sentenced to 20 years behind bars.

He escaped from prison a second time in June. U.S. authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to his capture.

According to an FBI wanted poster, Mohamed goes by the nickname “Cheibani” and has worked as a chauffeur.


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