Nigeria car bomb AP 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
An ex-leader of a terrorist group that claimed responsibility for a dual car
bombing that killed 12 in Nigeria has been arrested in Johannesburg, a
spokeswoman for Nigeria’s secret police said on Saturday.
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Marilyn Ogar, a
spokeswoman for the State Security Service, also acknowledged in an interview
with The Associated Press that her secretive agency had intelligence beforehand
that an attack was imminent. However, it and others were unable to stop the
bombings that targeted celebrations surrounding Nigeria’s 50th anniversary of
independence from Britain.
Ogar said police arrested Henry Okah, the
ex-leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, sometime
after the bombings on Friday.
Israel issued a statement on Saturday night
strongly condemning Friday’s terrorist attack in Abuja that killed at least 12
“We stand by and support the Nigerian people and the government
of Nigeria in their fight against terror,” the statement read.
government of Israel “sends its condolences to the families of innocent
Nigerians that lost their lives in the attack and wishes the injured speedy
The Movement for the Emancipation for the Niger Delta, also
known by the acronym MEND, issued a warning to journalists about an hour before
the attacks, telling people to stay away from festivities at Eagle Square in the
capital, Abuja. It blamed Nigeria’s government for doing nothing to end the
unceasing poverty in the delta as the nation receives billions of dollars from
The militant group has destroyed oil pipelines, kidnapped
petroleum company workers and fought government troops since 2006.
was freed from a Nigerian jail in July 2009 after the nation’s attorney-general
dropped the treason and gun-running charges against him. He later moved to
Johannesburg after MEND said he suffered from a kidney ailment.
said her agency had received “intelligence from our foreign partners, long, long
before the attacks.” She said security agencies and police cordoned off the area
surrounding Eagle Square, where President Goodluck Jonathan and other
dignitaries watched a military parade.
The dual car bombs detonated about
a 10-minute walk away. The event went on uninterrupted.
there’s no way security can be 100-percent foolproof,” Ogar said. “We are happy
all the same the event went on smoothly and wasn’t interrupted.”