Nigeria News

Suspect: Boko Haram Not behind THISDAY Bombings

 A suspected member of Boko Haram, Mustapha Umar, who is  being tried for allegedly attempting to bomb  SOJ Plaza – occupied by THISDAY, Sun and The Moment  Newspapers on Kontagora Road, Kaduna, on April 26, 2012  has confessed that he and his friends planned the attack.

Umar made the confession in an interview conducted by the police shortly after he was arrested when his attack failed.

The recorded interview contained in a video compact disc (VCD) was tendered before the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja Wednesday by the prosecution lawyer, Simon Labaran.

The video  was played in the open court.

Although conducted in Hausa, a court interpreter interpreted the interview in English.

In the interview, Umar  said he coordinated the attacks on THISDAY Abuja office and the one in Kaduna and was not supported by  Boko Haram.

He said his intention  was  to wreck the organisation for publishing materials that allegedly denigrated Prophet Mohammed.

Umar, 34, a Kanuri from Borno State and a widower with children, said he was not a member of Boko Haram.

He told his interviewer that the attacks, for which he was being tried, were coordinated by him and his friends trained under Sheikh Ja'afar M'adam in Maiduguri.

Umar stated that while the Kaduna bombing was done with his private Honda car he bought a year earlier, the bombing of THISDAY office in Abuja was carried out by his friend – Alhaji – with his (Alhaji's) sport utility vehicle (SUV).

In the interview, he said: "Can you hear me? What happened was that THISDAY newspaper insulted Prophet Mohammed. From when a beauty contest was to be conducted and THISDAY newspaper insulted Prophet Mohammed that was why I went and did this so as to take revenge.

"My intention was to eliminate them so that they would not exist again. You know, he who insults a prophet of God is not supposed to exist.

"There is the tradition of the prophet, which says that whoever insults the prophet of Allah shall be killed. For some years back, I have been praying to God to give me this opportunity to perpetrate this action and today, God has given me the chance.

"But the Boko Haram you are talking about, if I belonged to them, I will not come to a newspaper house. What do they have? Are they not publishing newspaper? But they (THISDAY) insulted the prophet of God in the newspaper they published and who insults a prophet also insults God.

"I promised myself that as long as I live, whoever insults a prophet of God, I will revenge."

When asked who made the explosives with which he had planned to bomb the house, he said he made it with his friends.

"Myself, Ibrahim and the one who did the bomb blast (in Abuja) are together. We all agreed that whoever insulted the prophet of God, we would revenge,” he added.

On whether he was disappointed that the  Improvised Explosive Device (IED) he took to the plaza did not explode immediately, he said he was helpless because it was God's wish.

"It is God that did not allow it to explode. I waited. It did not explode. Then, I came out from the car, trying to leave, I was blocked by the people, who started beating and even broke my hand," Umar said.

The trail judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola admitted in evidence a translated transcription of the interview conducted in Hausa.
With the admission of the exhibit, the prosecution closed its case.

The defence led by Nureini Sulaiman has said he was going to make a no case submission.

Justice Ademola adjourned until June 24 for adoption of all processes in respect of the defence's no-case submission.

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