Henry Okah: Nigeria militant jailed for 24 years over bombings


Nigerian militant leader Henry Okah is pictured at Johannesburg High Court on February 28, 2013. A South African court on March 26, 2013 jailed Nigerian national Henry Okah for 24 years in prison after he was convicted of 13 terrorism charges related to the 2010 independence day bombings.



Nigeria militant Henry Okah has been jailed for 24 years after he was convicted of 13 terrorism charges over two bombings in Abuja in 2010.

At least 12 people were killed and 36 injured during the twin bombings on Nigeria's independence day celebrations in 2010.

According to Bloomberg, Judge Neels Claassen handed down the sentence today in Johannesburg's South Gauteng High Court.

The state argued that Okah showed little remorse throughout the trial and that his intentions with the bombings had been to "obtain maximum casualties."

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Okah, who has permanent residency in South Africa, denied any involvement in the bombings and claimed the charges against him were politically motivated. South African law allows trials of alleged terrorists arrested in the country or who are residents of South Africa, no matter where their acts were committed.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) claimed responsibility for the attacks and at the time was a well-equipped armed group fighting to gain a larger share of the Delta oil wealth.

The instability in the Niger Delta cost Nigeria around $1 billion in lost revenue during its peak. Nigeria is Africa's biggest oil producer, while most of its population lives in poverty.