Five charged over Boko Haram Abuja bombings

Nigerian security officers stand next to rubble in Kuje, near Abuja, on October 3, 2015, after two bomb blasts ripped through the outskirts of Nigeria's capital Abuja (AFP Photo/)

Abuja (AFP) - Five men were remanded in custody when they appeared in court on Thursday in connection with bomb attacks on the outskirts of Nigeria's capital, Abuja, that killed 18 people.

The defendants, aged between 26 and 34, were charged with conspiracy and acts of terrorism, according to court papers and officials.

They pleaded not guilty but one admitted possessing "items suspected to be used for manufacturing improvised explosive devices" or IEDs.

Items allegedly found in their possession included 27 pieces of detonators, chemicals including hydrogen peroxide, soldering wire, 12 ready-made IEDs as well as fertiliser, according to the charge sheet.

The case, at the Federal High Court in Abuja, was adjourned until a further hearing on November 17.

Boko Haram -- under the name Islamic State in West Africa Province -- claimed responsibility for the attacks on the commuter towns of Nyanya and Kuje on October 2, which killed 18 and left 41 injured.

The group has used the name since pledging allegiance to the militants in Syria and Iraq in March.

In a video posted on social media on October 5, it said three men had carried out "martyrdom operations" against police stations in both towns, calling them "strongholds of the apostates (non-believers)".

Boko Haram has previously attacked police stations and prisons, where militant fighters have been held. Kuje prison, near Abuja's airport, currently houses dozens of Boko Haram inmates.

Nigeria's federal police said on October 13 it had arrested two people on suspicion of masterminding the blasts and claimed to have foiled another attempt to attack targets in and around Abuja.

Inspector General of Police Solomon Arase said at the time that 12 "prepared and primed" home-made explosives that were recovered had been concealed in soft drinks cans.

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