March 15, 2017 – 7 Boko Haram Leaders Remanded In Kuje Prison For Killing 11 Foreigners
A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja yesterday remanded in Kuje Prison seven suspected Boko Haram leaders for the kidnap and murder of 11 foreign nationals between 2011 and 2013 in the North. Justice John Tsoho remanded them pending their trial in the criminal charges brought against them by the Federal Government.
The Federal Government had slammed an 11-count charge against the seven suspected leaders of the dreaded Boko Haram sect. However, the accused pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
The accused are Mohammed Usman aka Khalid Albarnawi, described as the leader of a Boko Haram splinter group, Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan aka ANSARU; Mohammed Bashir Saleh, Umar Bello aka Abu Azzan; Mohammed Salisu (Datti); Yakubu Nuhu aka Bello Maishayi, Usman Abubakar (Mugiratu) and a lady, Halima Aliyu.
The defendants, said to be leaders of Boko Haram before establishing their own faction, are charged with conspiracy, hostage taking, supporting a terrorist group, membership of a terrorist group, illegal possession of firearms and concealing information on terrorism.
They are charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, contrary to Section 17 of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011, as amended in 2013, and punishable under same. The defendants are accused of killing, “Internationally Protected Persons (IPPs)”, contrary to Section (3) (a) of Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 as amended in 2013 and punishable under same.
According to the charge filed by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the defendants, in February 2013 at Ikirima Boko Haram Camp in Sambisa Forest, allegedly “murdered seven internationally protected persons – Carlos Bou Azziz, Brendan Vaughan, Silvano Trevisan, Konstantinos Karras, Ghaida Yaser Sa’ad (F), Julio Ibrahim El-Khouli and Imad El-Andari – and buried the bodies in a shallow grave. They were charged, in count-four, with hostage-taking, contrary to Section 15(c) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011, as amended in 2013, and punishable under same.
The defendants were alleged to have, on February 18, 2013, at Life Camp Yard of SETRACO Construction Company in Jama’are, Bauchi State, “did knowingly seize and continue to detain” the seven expatriates, “at Ikirima Boko Haram camp in Sambisa Forest for about 10 days before their eventual murder”.
They were, in count five, accused of knowingly giving “an explicit condition for the release of the seven expatriates” and they were also accused of being members of a “Boko Haram splinter group known as Jama’atu Ansarul Muslimina Fi Biladis Sudan aka ANSARU being a proscribed terrorist group in Nigeria, contrary to Section 16 (1) of Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 as amended in 2013 and punishable under the same section of the Act.”
The seven defendants were equally accused of being in possession of firearms without licence, punishable under Section 27 (1) (a) (1) of the firearms Act Cap F28 LFN 2004. The prosecution said firearms were recovered from Usman’s house at Rafin Guza, NDC Layout, Kaduna State, sometime last year.
The arms included five AK47 rifles (serial numbers 75582, 439106, 4483, 53964 and 3792); an unserviceable AK47 rifle (serial number destroyed); nine detached bullets of assault rifles; one locally-made revolver; two locally-made single-barrelled pistols; two locally-made double-barrelled pistols; one locally-made incomplete short gun and three working parts of assault rifles.
The trial judge, in a short ruling, said the Federal Government had all the machinery to ensure the security of the citizens, adding that the court would not compromise the personal liberty of the defendants.