The Federal High Court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, has arraigned seven suspected Boko Haram leaders, who were allegedly involved in the kidnapping, and murder of 11 foreign nationals, between 2011 and 2013.
The Government had slammed an 11-count charge against them, to which they all pleaded not guilty.
Arraigned before Justice John Tsoho was identified leader of a Boko Haram splinter group, Mohammed Usman also known as Khalid Albarnawi
Five other men and a lady, Halima Aliyu were also arraigned with him
The defendants, said to be leaders in Boko Haram before establishing their own faction, were charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism, hostage taking, supporting a terrorist group among others.
According to the charge filed by the office of the AGF, the defendants, on February 2013 at Ikirima Boko Haram Camp in Sambisa Forest, allegedly detained seven internationally protected persons, for ten days before murdering them and burying their bodies in a shallow grave.
After the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, the prosecution counsel, Shuaibu Labaran prayed the court for a date to commence the trial, and for the court to allow them remain in the custody of the DSS, pending the completion of their trial.
Counsel to the 6th defendant, informed the court that his client, along with other defendants have been in the custody of the DSS for the past fours years and have been denied access to their families and lawyers.
In his response Labaran, said he will ensure that the defendants, have access to their lawyers and members of their family.
In a short ruling, the trial judge said once an arraignment was made, the official custody of a defendant is the prison, and consequently ordered that the defendants be remanded at Kuje prison.
The case has been adjourned to matter to Eleventh April, for commencement of trial.