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Would-Be Diplomatic Assassin Pleads Guilty

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - A man who tried to murder a U.S. diplomat pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal conspiracy charge, prosecutors said.

Alhassane Ould Mohamed, also known as "Cheibani," is 46-year-old citizen of Mali, according to the government's press release. He faces 25 years in prison at his sentencing on April 26.

Citing court filings and this morning's plea hearing before U.S. District Judge William Kuntz, prosecutors say Mohamed's plot nearly came to fruition on Dec. 23, 2000.

Several employees of the U.S. Embassy in Niger had been leaving a restaurant in Niamey that day when Mohamed and a co-conspirator accosted the group.

Department of Defense official William Bultemeier was about to enter his car, a white sport-utility vehicle bearing diplomatic license plates, when the assailants approached, brandishing a pistol and an AK-47 rifle.

Prosecutors say Mohamed and his co-conspirator were trying to get the keys to the diplomatic vehicle, when Staff Sergeant Christopher McNeely, a Marine detachment commander for the U.S. Embassy in Niger at the time, ran to help Bultemeier.

The men shot Bultemeier to death, jumped in the diplomatic SUV and drove away.

McNeely survived the shooting and has since retired from the Marine Corps as a master sergeant, according to the press release.

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