"The Nigerian," Abu Hamzeh told CBS News Correspondent Terry McCarthy through an interpreter, "did something far from Islam and its principles."
Although he is not from here, Yemenis are conceding that Abdulmutallab probably received most of his training from al Qaeda in the five months he spent last year in this country.
Al Qaeda has been putting down roots in Yemen for more than 10 years. Ironically, it took a Nigerian student to force the government to take notice.
The U.S. has been providing Yemen with arms and military training to fight al Qaeda. But on Friday, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the U.S. has no plans to send troops there.
Now people, in the Yemeni capital at least, want the government to press ahead with its recent crackdown on the extremists.
"Do you think the government can get rid of al Qaeda from Yemen?" McCarthy asked one of those people, Mohammed Saleh.
"God willing," Saleh replied through a translator.
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But the battle against al Qaeda will be in the countryside, where government power is weak. It will take more than prayers to bring peace back to Yemen.