Thursday, April 01, 2004

Nigeria: can the state kidnap its own prisoner?


Major Hamza al-Mustapha, the late Sani Abacha's chief secruity officer, has allegedly been "abducted" from prison by the state intelligence/security forces.
In a commando-like operation, no fewer than 200 people believed to be from the State Security Service (SSS) and Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) stormed Kirikiri Prison in the early hours of Wednesday and whisked Major Hamza Al-Mustapha to an unknown place.

...The security operatives, who met stiff resistance from prison officials and inmates, were said to have shot sporadically into the air before they could take Al-Mustapha away.
The abduction/kidnap allegation comes from al-Mustapha's lawyer and supporters.

According to this March 26 story, al-Mustapha had filed a court motion asking that the DMI and the SSS not be allowed to remove him from Kirkiri Prison.

And stranger still ...
The Nigerian prison service has denied that Mr al-Mustapha was abducted. [But nobody seems to know where he is.]

The former top military official was to appear in court on Wednesday to seek an orders preventing him being transferred to the custody of the state agents.