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Nigerian Intelligence Arrests Biafran Separatist Leader

  • Associated Press

FILE - A man carries the Biafran flag during a parade in Ekwe village, near Enugu in southeastern Nigeria, May 27, 2008.

FILE - A man carries the Biafran flag during a parade in Ekwe village, near Enugu in southeastern Nigeria, May 27, 2008.

Nigerian intelligence agents have arrested a broadcaster calling for the peaceful secession of the southeast from Nigeria, according to two Biafra separatist groups whose cause prompted a civil war in the 1960s that killed an estimated 1 million people.

Radio Biafra director Nnamdi Kanu was detained Saturday as he was about to fly to London from Lagos, Nigeria's biggest city, said the Indigenous People of Biafra and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra.
It was not immediately possible to get comment from the Department of State Security.

In July, President Muhammadu Buhari's government said it had jammed Radio Biafra's signal because it is unlicensed but the station is still able to broadcast, airing grievances of the Igbo people. The Igbos fought a civil war to form an independent nation called Biafra in the late 1960s that killed about 1 million people, mostly Igbos from conflict-induced famine.

Unresolved issues from the war including appropriated property that has not been returned remain sore points. Groups including Radio Biafra continue to claim the tribe is discriminated against and they agitate for independence. Many Igbos who fled into exile have not returned home.

Eleven pro-Biafra activists have been in detention since last year on charges of alleged treason, which is a capital offense in this West African nation.

Nigeria is fighting an Islamic uprising in the northeast that has killed 20,000 people in six years, resurging militancy in the southern oil-rich Niger Delta and the central Middle Belt is plagued by violent confrontations over land and water between mainly Muslim nomadic cattle herders and sedentary farmers who are mostly Christians.

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