South African court finds Henry Okah guilty

A South African court on Monday found presumed leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, Henry Okah, guilty of terrorism and masterminding twin car bombs that killed 13 people and injured 36 people in Abuja on October 1, 2010. Judge Neels Claassen found Okah guilty of 13 counts ranging from conspiracy to commit terrorism to detonating bombs, Reuters reports.

Henry Okah1

Judge Neels Claassen said at the court session in Johannesburg on Monday, when handing down judgment;

I have come to the conclusion that the State proved beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused. The evidence that was given by his accomplices was not contradicted, I found that (Okah is the) leader, planner, funder, supplier… of car bombs used in Warri in March 2010 and on October 1, 2010

Claassen said Okah’s failure to testify meant evidence against him remained uncontested. He was charged with engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activity, and delivering, placing, and detonating an explosive device. The judge said Okah would be sentenced on January 30 but gave Okah room for mitigation.

Okah was allegedly the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) that claimed responsibility for the blasts. He however denied involvement in the attacks and also denies being the leader of the group.

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