Trial for “terrorism” in Senegal: money flows at the heart of hearings

On the third day of the trial of 29 defendants for “terrorist acts” of 29 defendants, unprecedented in Senegal, one of the wives of one of the main defendants claimed to be at the centre of movements of funds on behalf of the alleged jihadist network, in connection with Boko Haram in Nigeria.

Coumba Niang, 34, mother of three, is one of the two wives of Makhtar Diokhané, one of the main defendants of the trial that opened on Monday in the Dakar Criminal Court. 29 people, including three women, are tried for “acts of terrorism by criminal conspiracy, threats to disturb public order, financing of terrorism and money laundering”.

Before leaving for Nigeria, Makhtar Diokhané “had entrusted me with money, which I did not count,” said Coumba Niang, who appeared veiled at the helm. She assured to have put on the instruction of her husband, money to relatives of the latter, confirming the words of another defendant, Ibrahima Diallo, who said on Tuesday to have received from her 22,000 euros on her return from Nigeria.

“Requests for money were repeated,” she said, referring to the solicitations of relatives of her husband, adding, “For this reason, I wanted to get rid of it”

Money and documents

According to the prosecutor’s office, during a search of his home near Dakar, “14 500 euros in 500-euro banknotes were seized in his room” in addition to “documents relating to jihad”.

These documents detail, among other things, “the techniques and strategies of fighting and destabilizing a state”, “the techniques of kidnapping, abduction and murder”. They also include books “legitimizing summary executions” of people opposed to jihad, according to the prosecution.

During the investigation, Coumba Niang claimed that the money was handed over to her husband by “Boko Haram chief Abubakar Shekau”. But this version, advanced by the prosecution, has not been confirmed by the main interested in the bar.

Part of these “large sums of money entrusted by her husband” was intended for employees of Diokhané and another “to finance work that was to be done in Senegal,” said the prosecutor Ali Ciré Ndiaye.

The defendants are accused of having wanted to create a jihadist base in Senegal. Mokhtar Diokhané attended Boko Haram in Nigeria before being arrested in 2015 in neighbouring country of Niger, following a “counterfeit money” case and handed over to Senegal, according to the prosecution.

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