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Okah to remain in Kokstad prison

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Henry Okah in the Johannesburg High court after he was sentenced to 24 years in prison. File picture: Dumisani Dube

Johannesburg - The High Court in Pretoria dismissed an application on Friday to relocate convicted Nigerian terrorist Henry Okah from a prison in KwaZulu-Natal to one in Pretoria, said the department of correctional services.

Okah had asked the court to set aside internal disciplinary committee findings and sanctions that resulted in him being moved to the Kokstad Super Maximum Correctional Centre in KwaZulu-Natal.

The committee's decision followed allegations that Okah had repeatedly tried to escape from custody, said department spokesman Manelisi Wolela.

Okah wanted to be transferred to the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria.

“The department of correctional services' submission argued against the urgency, the failure of the applicants to exhaust internal remedies and the absence of a cogent reason for requiring the declaration of actions taken by the department invalid,” Wolela said in a statement.

Okah was sentenced to 24 years' imprisonment in March last year after being convicted on 13 counts of terrorism, including engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activities, and delivering, placing, and detonating an explosive device.

The charges related to two car bombs detonated in Abuja, Nigeria, on October 1, 2010, the anniversary of the country's independence. Twelve people were killed and 36 were injured.

Another bombing took place in Warri on March 15, 2010, at a post-amnesty dialogue meeting. One person was killed and 11 were seriously injured.

In both bombings, two car bombs went off minutes apart. The cars were parked in close proximity to each other.

Okah made threats to the South African government after his arrest here in 2010.

Sapa


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