CILACAP, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two Nigerians convicted of drug smuggling have been executed by firing squad in Indonesia, officials said on Friday.
Samuel Iwachekawu Okoye and Hansen Anthony Nwaoysa were executed before midnight on Thursday on Nusakambangan prison island, which is off the coast of central Java.
Nigeria’s government, which asked Indonesia last month for a stay of execution, expressed its regret over the deaths.
“This was despite the passionate plea for a stay of execution and commutation of their death sentences,” Nigeria’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Indonesia has defended the death penalty as a necessary deterrent in a country with a growing drugs problem. The last foreigners to be executed for drugs offences were two Thai nationals in October 2004.
Three Australians convicted of drug trafficking are also on death row in Indonesia until their appeal process is exhausted. They were among nine Australians arrested in the resort island of Bali in 2005 with 8.2 kg (18 lb) of heroin.
Indonesian prosecutors have said they are also preparing the executions of three Bali bombers for their role in deadly attacks in 2002 that killed 202 people.
Dicky Atotoy, head of the Central Java mobile brigade police, said the two Nigerians had been tied to two wooden poles with their heads covered, and shot by two teams of police snipers.
“The doctor declared the two convicts dead at 00:00 following the firing squads’ duty to execute them,” Atotoy said.
It is not clear where the two men will be buried. A Reuters witness said that no coffins had been taken off the island of Nusakambangan after the executions.
Additional reporting by Telly Nathalia and Camillus Eboh in Abuja; Writing by Olivia Rondonuwu; Editing by Sara Webb and Valerie Lee