Another blow to the idea that various jihadist actions around the world are really isolated, nationalist struggles by people who happen to be Muslims. An update on this story. "Men wanted to 'kill Americans'," from News 24, September 12:
Khartoum - Five Islamists accused of killing a US diplomat and his driver in the Sudanese capital on New Year's Day told police they had wanted to "kill Americans", a court heard on Thursday.
John Granville, 33, who worked for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and his 40-year-old Sudanese driver Abdel Rahman Abbas were shot dead in their car before dawn in Khartoum on January 1.
Abdulrahim Ahmed Abdulrahim, the police officer who led the murder investigation, told a packed courtroom in Khartoum that the five men had initially wanted to fight in Somalia but changed their plans.
"The five men told me they wanted to kill Americans," said Abdulrahim. "There were two options: the first to go to Somalia to fight jihad (holy war), the other to start the work here in Sudan. They said they decided to stay in Sudan," he told the hearing amid heavy police presence.
Four of the defendants said their witness statements were taken under pressure, with one calling the police officer a "devil".
"The evidence was taken by force," one of them told the judge.
The accused, who sat behind bars in a side gallery of the courtroom, have yet to make a formal plea.
Another defendant, who is accused of plotting the attack but not carrying out the actual killing, said the evidence given by the police was correct.
Police rejected claims that force was used in interviewing the defendants, saying video footage of them giving statements in the presence of a judge were made.