Nigeria bomb suspect Okah talks of fight in diary

A diary entry by suspected Nigerian bombing conspirator Henry Okah, made about two weeks before deadly blasts in the capital, Abuja, talked about staging “a fight to the finish”, a Johannesburg court heard on Monday.

Okah, residing in South Africa and charged with conspiracy and terrorism over twin car bombings in Nigeria that killed at least 10, denied any links to the October 1 blasts. He took the stand at a bail hearing that entered its third day.

“We will fight to the finish,” he wrote in his diary on September 19. Okah acknowledged the diaries were his and he made the entry but said it had nothing to do with his involvement in the armed conflict in the Niger Delta.

South African prosecutors and police said Okah was the mastermind behind the bombings in Nigeria, which occurred during celebrations of 50 years of independence.

South African authorities seized the diaries and invoices for the purchases of large amounts of arms when they raided Okah’s home in Johannesburg at around the time of the blasts.

Other diary entries talk about weapons such as surface-to-air missiles, assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, military tactics, training camps, command structures and possible kidnapping.

“Your purpose in writing this down is to give guidance and assistance to the militants,” prosecutor Shaun Abrahams said.

Okah, suspected leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (Mend), was arrested at his home in South Africa shortly after the blasts.

“I am not a fighter,” he told the court.

He described himself as a nothing more than a well-connected and interested observer who was expressing his shared concern for the people of the Delta when he made the diary entries.

“I hear of them [military attacks] after the fact. When something in the Niger Delta happens, I get calls.”

The attacks were claimed by Mend. Security experts believe Okah — who accepted a government amnesty last year after gun-running and treason charges against him were dropped — was at one time the brains behind Mend.

Okah said he had become a target of the Nigerian government because of his connections and they are trying to deflect blame on to him for the deaths.

Okah’s lawyer, Rudi Krause, told Reuters state prosecutors had yet to produce evidence linking Okah to the bombings.

“We don’t have any idea on what these charges are premised,” Krause said.

Prosecutors and police said Okah was in touch with the suspected bombers before and after the blasts.

On Sunday, a Nigerian security source said the secret service had arrested Okah’s brother a day after a warning was emailed to media that another bomb attack was planned for Abuja. — Reuters

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Jon Herskovitz
Jon Herskovitz has over 313 followers on Twitter.

Related stories


Subscribers only

Covid-overflow hospital in ruins as SIU investigates

A high-level probe has begun into hundreds of millions of rand spent by the Gauteng health department to refurbish a hospital that is now seven months behind schedule – and lying empty

Q&A Sessions: ‘I should have fought harder for SA vaccine’...

Professor Salim Abdool Karim talks to Nicolene de Wee about his responsibility as head of the ministerial advisory committee tasked with guiding the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

More top stories

‘No one took us seriously’: Black cops warned about racist...

Allegations of racism against the Capitol Police are nothing new: Over 250 Black cops have sued the department since 2001. Some of those former officers now say it’s no surprise white nationalists were able to storm the building

Pay-TV inquiry probes the Multichoice monopoly

Africa’s largest subscription television operator says it is under threat amid the emerging popularity of global platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime

​No apology or comfort as another Marikana mother dies without...

Nomawethu Ma’Bhengu Sompeta, whose funeral will be held this weekend, was unequivocal in calling out the government for its response to the Marikana massacre

Children may benefit when parents share their digital gaming...

Digital games can provide forums for diverse groups of people to come together, which is especially important while our physical activities are restricted

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…