Okah denies being Mend leader

2010-10-18 11:37

Johannesburg - Terror accused Henry Okah has denied being the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation the Niger Delta (Mend), but told the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Monday he was an "accepted" leader of the people in the region.

"I am a respected leader of the people of Niger," Okah said.

He faces charges of engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activity, and delivering, placing and detonating an explosive device, following twin car bombs in Abuja, Nigeria, that killed 12 people on October 1.

"Just like Julius Malema, he is accepted here in South Africa as the leader of the youth, he is not the leader of any movement," Okah said of the ANC Youth League leader.

The 45-year-old Nigerian national, who has South African citizenship, was testifying in his own bail hearing on Monday.

He maintains he is a sympathiser of the cause, but not of Mend.

Documents found

Prosecutor Shaun Abrahams grilled Okah about papers found at his house on October 2.

"This is the first time I see this document," Okah said, referring to a document which referred to him as "distinguished businessman, chosen leader of Mend".

Abrahams also questioned him about why his wife would refer to him as the leader of Mend in a letter addressed to the media.

"I think she did it for clarity, because a lot of the media refer to me as a leader of Mend."

His bail application continues.