South Africa - Niger

Suspected Mend leader Okah to go to trial

AFP

Henry Okah, the alleged mastermind behind deadly bomb attacks at Nigerian independence celebrations last year, is set to stand trial in South Africa next January. Okah is also charged with planning explosions in Nigeria’s oil rich Delta region.

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Henry Okah was arrested in Johannesburg shortly after the car bomb attacks in the Abuja last October that killed 12 people celebrating their country’s independence anniversary.

Okah, who has permanent residence in South Africa, has made several unsuccessful bids to be granted bail.

Prosecutors say he is the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Mend, that’s taken militant action to press for wider distribution of Nigeria’s oil wealth.

His case has been moved to high court and is due to begin on January 30.

He’ll face charges of terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and the discharge of explosives.

He has also been charged with terrorism in connection with two explosions in the southern city of Warri in the Niger Delta in March last year.

Okah denies being the leader of Mend. He says he had nothing to do with the explosions mentioned on the charge sheet.

On hearing that the accused was receiving unauthorised calls, police last February, raided Okah’s holding cell in Johannesburg and found eight telephones.

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