Court discharges Boko Haram suspect after four years in custody

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Federal High Court Abuja

A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday discharged a Boko Haram suspect, Usman Abubakar, who was arraigned alongside six others on terrorism charges.

Mr. Abubakar, the sixth defendant, was allegedly involved in the abduction of seven foreigners from a construction site in Bauchi, who were taken to Sambisa Forest, in Borno, where they were murdered in February 2013.

He was charged alongside Mohammed Usman (a.k.a Khalid Al-Barnawi), Mohammed Bashir Saleh, Umar Mohammed Bello (a.k.a Abu Azzan), Mohammed Salisu (a.k.a Datti), Yakubu Nuhu (a.k.a Bello Maishayi) and a lady, Halima Haliru.

They were arraigned on an 11-count charge, bordering on abduction and murder of their victims.

At the resumed trial, the prosecuting counsel, Shuaibu Labaran, informed the court of the development, which was filed on June 5, saying the prosecution has nothing against the 6th defendant.

Mr. Labaran said that among other features in the amended information is the “striking out’’ of Usman Abubakar as a defendant, in line with the information filed on Feb. 23, 2017.

The prosecution added two other defendants- Mohammed Sani and Abubakar Habib — who are be arraigned. That brings the number of defendants to eight.

Mr. Labaran prayed the court for an adjournment to enable him produce the two new defendants for arraignment.

The discharged defendant’s counsel, K. Abdulkarim, urged the court to speed up his discharge processes.

The judge, Justice John Tsoho, in a short ruling, struck out the name of the 6th defendant, who has spent four years in custody.

Mr. Tsoho adjourned the matter until June 19 for the two defendants to take their plea. (NAN)

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