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Kenya Charges 2 More in Kidnapping

May 9, 2001 GMT

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Two more men were charged Wednesday for the kidnapping of three American businessman in a plot to collect $5.2 million in ransom.

The two Nigerians, Johnson Chukwuemeka Obasi and Felix Obioma Anosike, appeared in the Nairobi Chief Magistrate Court and pleaded innocent to all six charges of abduction and demanding money by false pretenses. A third man was charged earlier.

The two men were accused of kidnapping American businessmen William Daniel Marrow, 60, of Norfolk, Va.; James Edward Harrel, 67, of San Diego, and Jurgen Robert Ahlmann, 58, of Escondido, Calif. The kidnappers allegedly lured the businessmen to Nairobi by claiming to have $9.5 million worth of diamonds to export. They also said they were looking for investors in a fish exporting business.

Kenyan police, in cooperation with the FBI, raided the suburban house where the three men were being held on April 24. Police immediately arrested Augustine Azubuike Nwanga, also a Nigerian, who prosecutors allege was the ringleader.

Nwange was charged with the same counts shortly after his arrest. The Americans were allowed to testify in advance so they could return to the United States.

Defense attorney Paul Onduso asked the court to release Anosike on bail because he has lived in Kenya for 12 years, has a Kenyan wife and is the father of two children. He added that his client has legitimate business in Kenya and deals with cosmetics and chemicals.

Prosecutor Moses Odoyo opposed the application, saying that Anosike had a visa for China and was a flight risk.

The magistrate ordered the two held until Monday when another bail hearing would be held.