Four Nigerians face death penalty over U.N. bombing

Reuters , Saturday 17 Sep 2011

Four suspected Nigerians face death penalty over a U.N. headquarter bombing in Abuja that left 23 people killed

Nigerian soldiers wearing UN peacekeeper berets bow their heads during a memorial service for those killed in a suicide attack on U.N. headquarters, outside the damaged building in Abuja, Nigeria (AP photo)

Four suspected members of a radical Islamist sect have been charged with orchestrating 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.

The men were among 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.

The group, whose name translates to "Western education is forbidden" in the local Hausa language spoken in northern Nigeria, has shown its menace with a bombing in the police headquarters car park in Abuja in June and the U.N. strike.

"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," prosecutors told the court.

The United Nations has confirmed 23 people dead and more than 100 wounded.

The defendants made no pleas because the court said the case was beyond its jurisdiction and ordered that it be sent to the Federal High Court for a hearing on November 3.

Another man was charged with his part in a New Year's Eve bomb attack on an army barracks bar in Abuja, which killed at least four people.

The other defendants were accused of carrying out bomb attacks in the northern state of Bauchi or for possessing firearms, explosives and conspiring in terrorism.

Nigeria's population of more than 140 million 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.

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