Four suspected members of a radical Islamist sect were accused on Friday of organizing a suicide bombing on United Nations headquarters in the Nigerian capital last month that killed at least 23 people. They face the death penalty if found guilty.
They were among a group of 19 brought to a magistrates court in Abuja on Friday accused of carrying out separate attacks as members of Boko Haram, an Islamist group blamed for almost daily shootings and bombings in the remote northeast.
Prosecutors said, “You Salisu Mohammed, Musa Mukailu, Danzumi Haruna and Abdusalami Adamu of Kano state conspired among yourselves and sent a suicide bomber in (Honda car) loaded with explosives who forcefully drove into United Nations House Abuja and detonated the explosives killing 25 persons,”
The defendants made no pleas as Magistrate Judge Azubuike Okegu said the case should be sent to the Federal High Court for a hearing on November 3 and the suspects held until then.
Another man was accused of carrying out a New Year’s Eve bomb attack on an army barracks bar in Abuja, which killed at least four people.
Others were accused of carrying out bomb attacks in the northern state of Bauchi or for possessing firearms, explosives and conspiring in terrorism.
Nigeria, a nation of 150 million people, is split roughly equally between a largely Muslim north and a mostly Christian south.
Boko Haram, which wants Islamic sharia law more widely applied across Africa’s most populous nation, does not have the support of the majority of Nigerian Muslims.