Why Africa's so tough on terror

01 August 2017 - 08:10 By Ernest Mabuza
Henry Okah. File picture.
Henry Okah. File picture.
Image: Antonio Muchave

It is in South Africa's best interests to fight against terrorism but the country has to be pushed to fight crimes against humanity.

This is the view of a researcher on the eve of the appeal by the state before the Constitutional Court against a reduced sentence for terrorist Henry Okah.

Okah, a Nigerian national with permanent residence status in South Africa, was in 2013 sentenced to 24 years for bombings in the Nigerian cities of Warri and Abuja in 2010.

He was tried using terrorist legislation which gives South Africa jurisdiction over crimes committed outside the country.

The state is appealing against the Supreme Court of Appeal judgment, which set aside Okah's conviction for the Warri bombings and reduced his sentence to 20 years.

Allan Ngari, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, said: "There is a reluctance on the part of African states to intervene in the governance of other states," as in the case of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir

Ngari said it was easier for countries to co-operate on terrorism because these were acts against the state and "do not involve the higher echelons of government''.