News / Africa

Nigerian Bombing Suspect in South African Court

Nigerian ex-militant leader, Henry Okah (R) is led from the court in Johannesburg, 14 Oct 2010
Nigerian ex-militant leader, Henry Okah (R) is led from the court in Johannesburg, 14 Oct 2010

South African prosecutors say a former Nigerian militant leader was in contact with the planners of a deadly bomb attack the in Nigerian capital, Abuja.

Henry Okah, the former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, or MEND, was arrested in Johannesburg shortly after the blast that killed 12 people.

During a bail hearing Thursday, prosecutors said Okah was the mastermind behind the blast adding that police found invoices for the purchase of guns and grenade launchers.

Okah has denied involvement in the bombings saying that he was the victim of a political ploy by Nigerian politicians.

The Johannesburg Regional Court adjourned before a decision on bail was made. It is set to resume Friday.

Okah is accused of twin car bombings in Abuja last month that killed 12 people during independence day celebrations.  He is charged with conspiracy to commit a terrorist act and the detonation of explosive devices.

Nigerian authorities have arrested nine other people in connection with the attacks.  

MEND said last week it was not behind the attack, after an earlier statement attributed to the group claimed responsibility.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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