The federal government has instituted a murder charge against the leader of Boko Haram splinter group, Ansaru, Khalid al-Barnawi, at the federal high court in Abuja on Tuesday.
Al-Barnawi and six other co-accused persons, including his second wife, are accused of kidnapping and killing a British national, Christopher McManus and other foreigners working in Nigeria in 2012.
Court documents sighted by journalists reveal that al-Barnawi and the six others are also charged with hostage-taking and conspiracy to commit terrorism.
They pleaded not guilty to the charges and the trial judge ordered that they be remanded in Kuje prison.
Al-Barnawi, whose real name is Usman Umar Abubakar, was arrested on April fools’ day in 2016 by a combined team of Nigerian security agencies in Lokoja, the capital of Kogi State.
He is one of three Nigerian terrorists listed by the United States government in 2012 as “specially designated global terrorists”.
The other two are Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and Ansaru founder Abubakar Adam Kambar.
The Ansaru leader is from Biu town in Borno State and had assumed leadership of the splinter Boko Haram group after the death of Kambar in a military raid on his hideout in Kano in March 2012.