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Alleged Nigerian Kidnappers Arraigned

Feb 23, 2009, 7:10 AM | Article By: Malamin Conteh

The second prosecution witness in the on-gong trial involving six Nigerians and one Gambian accomplice accused of kidnapping a 71-year old Australian national, Justin Liebig, on Thursday 19th February 2009 testified at the Bundung Magistrates' Court.

The accused: Joseph Okeke, alias Charles or Doctor, Nanso Mbasoh, Onuwa Ibaim, Nonso Odowa, Arinze Izuchukwu, Pius Patrick, and Awa Touray are standing trial for allegedly kidnapping a 71-year old Australian national, Justin Liebig. They are charged with conspiracy, kidnapping, obtaining money by false pretence and stealing.

They are alleged to have held the 71-year old Australian captive, from the 1st to the 9th of February 2009.

Sub Inspector Abdoulie Sowe, attached to the Bakoteh Police Station CID Unit, told the court that while in his office on the 9th of February this year he received a telephone call from the Police Crime Management Co-ordinator (CMC) Yankuba Sonko informing him about the alleged incident and instructed him to mount an investigation into the matter. "The CMC joined me in the investigation after closing from work. We drove to the Manjai Police Station were we picked one Sergeant Simon Gomez to join us" he told the court adding that they drove to the Amsterdam Dolphin Restaurant in Kololi from where they visited the scene.

He further said that upon returning to the restaurant he used the CMC's phone and called one of the suspects' number and he caught sight of somebody trying to receive the call. He said he rang off the phone and called it for a second time and saw the same person trying to receive the call, then he was sitting at the table next to him. He told the court that, that was the time he approached the suspect, arrested him and took him to the Kotu Police Station. He said the suspect later led them to the house of Joseph Okeke, alias Charles.

"Upon our arrival at the gate of Joseph's house we knocked at the gate and Joseph opened the gate and upon seeing us, he quickly closed the gate and opened the back gate and started to run. I ran after him and arrested him" Inspector Sowe added.

He testified that upon returning to the Kotu Police Station, he found Awa Touray, another suspect, and obtained their cautionary statements. He told the court that when Joseph was asked at the police station as to why he tried to run away, he said the accused answered that when he saw two guys with one of his co-accused he knew that their operation had failed. They were however denied bail by the presiding magistrate, Kumba Sillah-Camara, and the case was adjourned to the 26th February 2009.