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Abuja Bombing Mend Niger Nigeria Oil South Africa Terrorism

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SA seeks extra charges against alleged bombing mastermind Okah

Reuters/Afolabi Sotunde

South African prosecutors want to bring additional charges against Nigerian Henry Okah who is already accused of involvement in twin bomb blasts that killed a dozen people in Abuja last October. The charges relate to an earlier bombing in Nigeria.

Okah is being held in solitary confinement. Another bid to get bail on Sunday failed.

His next court appearance will be on 2 June.

Okah came to South Africa, where he now has permanent residence status, after being released from a Nigerian prison in July 2009 while facing treason and gun-running charges.

He was arrested two days after the Abuja bombings.

South Africa’s national prosecuting authority has obtained a certificate to lay charges of terrorism against Okah.

Spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga says South Africa has extra-territorial jurisdiction that allows it to try any person, who was found or based in the country, even if the offence was committed outside the borders of the country.

Okah is accused of masterminding the Abuja attack on behalf of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.

Charges include engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activity and delivering, placing and detonating an explosive device.

The state prosecutor says additional charges of terrorism and terror financing are being added to Okah’s sheet.

Advocate Shaun Abrahams says they are connected to a bombing in Warri, Nigeria, in March last year.

There was also a "possible" charge of money-laundering.