South Africa - from our correspondent

Okah awaits appeal verdict over Abuja bomb links

Henry Okah
Henry Okah AFP

Nigerian terror suspect Henry Okah will hear Friday if his appeal against being refused bail by the South African courts has been successful. His appeal was heard this week in Randburg High Court.

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The former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), who is living in exile in South Africa, is wanted in Nigeria on terrorism charges related to his alleged involvement in the bomb blasts in Abuja last October that left 12 people dead and 36 injured.

His lawyer Rudi Krause says he is satisfied Okah had a fair hearing, but would not speculate on Okah’s chances of success.

Okah’s advocate Dumisa Ntsabeza argued that South Africa’s constitution requires that his bail be granted for the public good, so that the state does not have to bear the expense and responsibility of incarcerating him.

Ntsabeza added that there’s enough evidence that Okah will acquitted if the matter comes before Nigerian courts.

Magistrate Hein Louw found last year that Okah was the leader of Mend, which claimed responsibility for the Abuja bombings.

After a seven-day hearing, the magistrate cited a letter written by Okah’s wife Azuka that declared him a leader of the rebel group.

Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams also mentioned Okah’s text message to the conspirators and his purchase of two vehicles allegedly used for the bombings.

The national prosecuting authority says it is confident that the magistrate’s decision will stand.

Okah's brother, Charles, and three others have been denied bail in an Abuja high court on charges of kidnapping nine foreign oil workers between August and October last year.

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