Saturday, 16 November 2013

# Africa News # Gossip

Boko Haram member Mustapha Umar bags life jail with hard labour

Mustapha Umar, the Boko Haram member who bombed a plaza housing the offices of some newspapers in Kaduna in April 2012, yesterday Friday 15th of Novermber, 2013 convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labour by an Abuja Federal High Court.

Below are all the exclusives from Punch Reports... Three persons lost their lives in the bomb attack in the premises of SOJ Plaza, located at R9, Kontagora Road, by Ahmadu Bello Way, Kaduna, which is occupied by Thisday Newspaper, The Moment Newspaper and The Sun Newspaper.

Justice Adeniyi Ademola, who delivered judgment in the one-count terrorism charge filed against Umar by the Federal Government amid tight security at the court premises, awarded the sum of N150m as compensation to the families of the three persons who died in the incident.

Justice Ademola convicted and sentenced Umar for violating provisions of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2011. Continue...

In the course of the trial, which lasted just seven months, the prosecution, led by S. S. Labaran, called a total of 10 witnesses, including police officers who rescued Umar from a mob which attempted to lynch him after he survived the suicide bomb attack.

Umar, 34, incurred injuries from the attempted suicide attack, as well as beatings he received from the mob.

Interestingly, the police officers had informed the court that at the point of his rescue from the mob and subsequent arrest, Umar had wept bitterly, expressing regrets that his failure to die in the attack had cost him an opportunity to make heaven as a martyr.

The witnesses also told the court that Umar carried out the attack with a white Honda Academy car with registration No. AL 306 MKA, which was laden with improvised explosives, including 12 camp gas cylinders which were collectively wired to the steering of the vehicle.

Although Umar had said that the white Honda Academy belonged to him, the prosecution witnesses had informed the court that the plate number on the vehicle belonged to a different car, whose owner was killed when it was snatched at gun point.

Besides the testimony of the witnesses, the prosecution’s major evidence against Umar was the video recording of an interview in which he admitted the charge, shortly after his arrest.

In the said video, which was tendered and played in court, a relaxed Umar was seen owing up to the crime, and explaining his motive for carrying out the bomb attack – which was largely to avenge an alleged insult on Prophet Mohammed by Thisday Newspaper.

After the video had been tendered and played in court, Umar, who admitted that he was the person in the video, recanted his confession, claiming that he confessed under duress.

Denying the charge, he claimed that he was an innocent bystander at the premises of SOJ Plaza, having come there to sell perfumes on the day of the bomb attack.

But after evaluating the oral evidence of the witnesses as well as that of Umar, who testified in his own defence, Justice Ademola held that the prosecution witnesses were articulate and reliable.

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