MEND leader Henry Okah guilty of Terrorism charges- SA Court
The leader of Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, Henry Okah has been found guilty of terrorism by a south african magistrate court in Johannesburg. Okah was taken arrested by South African police after a search on his home in the country allegedly showed evidence that he was involved in the independence day bombing that claimed some lives in Nigeria.
Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan charged security agencies to carry out thorough investigation on the matter. The arrest of Mr. Okah came just as his young brother, Charles Okah was also arrested at his Apapa home and put on trial in Nigeria for his alleged involvement in the same independence day car bombing matter.
Mend claimed responsibility to several oil installations and abductions of several oil workers in the past. The group was offered amnesty to which many of it members accepted.However,Okah refused to accept the amnesty programme, describing it as a ‘sham’ by the Nigerian government.
A full report of the court proceedings and jail terms for Mr. Okah is yet to be made available. Sources disclosed that Okah is likely to appeal the judgement.
Okah’s profile became public shortly after he was unmasked as a leader of the MEND, a group that engaged the Nigerian government in a guerrilla warfare over what they termed total neglect of the Niger Delta region. The group claimed that the region deserves better infrastructure since theyare the largest producer of oil in the country.
In 2006, MEND engaged abducted oil workers and sabotage oil installations in the country. Email messages credited to the group spokesperson said they are doing so to draw international attention to their plight.
Okah was arrested with a friend in Angola and deported to Nigeria in 2008.He was charged for various offenses including treason,illegal possesion of firearms,terrorism and arms trafficking. He was in detention for sometime before he was released.