Sunday, October 3, 2010

South African Authorities Arrest Henry Okah over Independence Bomb Blast

Henry Okah, leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) fingered by Nigeria ’s Presidency to have been responsible for the Abuja Bomb Blast has been re-arrested in South Africa by the police.

Okah was arrested after revealed that the Presidency had fingered Henry Okah & South Africa as been responsible for the Abuja bomb explosions that killed at least 16 innocent people on October 1 while the nation was celebrating its 50th independence anniversary. learnt from good authority that he has been re-arrested after an alleged threat by Nigerian government to severe diplomatic ties with South Africa and possible reprisal attacks by angry Nigerians who reviled the ugly incident.Authorities in thegovernment of South Africa says Henry Okah is expected to cooperate with security agencies by giving them more useful information on the bomb attack. Mr. Okah may likely be arraigned on monday on terrorism charges.

Tompolo, ex-MEND Commander, others condemn Nigeria’s October 1 bomb attack

As Nigerians continue to react to the October 1, 2010 bomb last in Abuja , ex-militants have joined in condemning the incident which claimed lives of innocent citizens. Former Niger Delta warlord and ‘Ex-Grand Commanding Officer’ (GOC) of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Chief Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo) has condemned the bomb explosion at the event, celebrating the country’s 50th Independence Anniversary.

An aide to the ex-militant warlord, Paul Bebenimibo condemned the attack in strong terms, saying that the dastardly act does not form part of the oil and gas wealthy Niger Delta struggle and distanced ex-militants in the region from the attack. “Those who carried out the bomb attack are cowards who want to paint the region in bad light and discredit Jonathan’s presidency. It a barbaric act and not part of the Niger Delta struggle”.

While charging security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act and bring them to justice so as to serve as deterrent to others, Ekpemupolo, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to remain undeterred by the antics of enemies of the nation who want to distract him from given purposeful leadership.

Similarly, ‘Ex- Commander’ of the Deadly Underdogs, ‘General’ Ezekiel Akpesibewie has said although he was not sure of the group which had carried out the attack revealed that there are split groups within the rank of outlawed MEND but could not say which faction claimed to have responsibility in the bombing of the venue of the anniversary ceremony.

‘General’ Akpesibewie also condemned the bomb blast attack and asked security agencies to do a through investigation into the vicious act.

Recall that the militant group in the Niger Delta, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had on Friday issued a threat stating its intent to detonate bombs at the event. Henry Okah, whose house was first raided September 30 in South Africa , controls a faction of the group which said it has no confidence in the Federal Government amnesty programme while Tompolo controls another faction loyal to the amnesty programme.

A former militant who spoke on grounds of anonymity has reasoned that ex-militants in theNiger Delta may after all not be responsible for the attack as he said Okah had told him personally that he was no responsible for the attack even as another source said the bomb attack may have been carried out alleging by ‘Arewa boys’.

An eyewitness had earlier alleged that he saw two Arab men on a power bike set off the bombs.

MEND’s Denial

MEND, said that it intended to bomb the event in an electronic release issued by its spokesman, Jomo Gbomo. The source explained that MEND had never involved Arabs in its struggle in the Niger Delta and should not have contacted them to bomb the event celebrating the nation’s anniversary.

The militant group, which demanded a fairer distribution of the nation’s natural resources derivable from the oil-rich but strife-torn Niger Delta says there was “nothing worth celebrating after 50 years of failure”.

The incident which is similar to a car bomb allegedly by MEND at a Niger Delta stakeholders meeting early this year in Warri ha caused worry as to who is actually responsible for the attack.

South African police had invaded the Johannesburg home of Henry Okah, leader of theMovement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) early on Friday, apparently acting on the request of the Nigerian authorities who claimed that Mr. Okah was stockpiling weapons and re-arming fighters in the volatile Niger Delta region of Nigeria .

In 2008, Mr. Okah, who had been living in South Africa , was arrested in Angola by the Angolan authorities for alleged gun running.

He was deported to Nigeria where he was held in solitary confinement and secretly tried before a Federal High Court in Jos, charged with 62 counts of terrorism, illegal possession of weapons and treason amongst other capital crimes.

But in 2009, the government entered into an amnesty deal with his group and several

other Niger Delta militant groups and released him.

Okah returned to live in South Africa except for a brief trip to Nigeria to attend a meeting with the late Nigerian leader, Umaru Yar'adua during the Amnesty process.

The Federal Government had described as wicked and criminal, the twin bomb blasts that claimed the lives of over 10 persons and injuring scores of others. The first bomb explosion, at the Eagle Square , occurred minutes after President Goodluck Jonathan reviewed themilitary parade mounted by a combined detachment of troops, in the armed forces and police.

The explosion was detonated about 40 meters from the state box, where President Jonathan, Vice President Nnamdi Sambo and other visiting heads of government were sitting, at the Eagle Square , venue of the 50th anniversary celebration. The dead were evacuated to different morgues within the city while the injured were taken to the different hospitals for treatment.

via Huhuonline

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