Southeastern Nigeria Slaps Fresh Charges On Biafran Activist

Pro-Biafra supporters hold a poster of jailed activist Nnamdi Kanu during a protest in Aba, southeastern Nigeria, calling for his release. By Pius Utomi Ekpei (AFP)

Lagos (AFP) - Nigerian prosecutors have filed fresh charges against a Biafran activist just days after a court ordered his release, court officials said Wednesday.

Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), has been held by the Department of State Services (DSS), the country's secret police, since his arrest in October for operating pirate Radio Biafra and belonging to an unlawful organisation.

A court in Abuja last week dropped the case after the prosecution decided to discontinue the trial, but the DSS refused to release him, saying he was under investigation for fresh charges of terrorism and terrorism financing.

A senior court official told AFP on Wednesday that fresh charges, including belonging to an unlawful organisation, had been slapped against the Biafran campaigner and two others before another Abuja high court.

"Kanu and two others are facing fresh charges. They were not in court on Tuesday when the case came up for hearing," he said.

He said the judge then adjourned to a date to be communicated to both the defendants and prosecution.

Kanu has emerged as the new face of the Biafra campaign for a separate state for the Igbo people of southeast, who fought a brutal civil war with Nigerian federal forces from 1967 to 1970.

The conflict, which left some one million dead mainly from starvation and disease, was sparked when Biafran leaders unilaterally declared independence from Nigeria.

Kanu's IPOB has held a series of protests across the country, including the commercial city of Lagos, demanding his release and Biafran independence.

A number of the protesters have been killed in clashes with the Nigerian security forces.

Source: AFP
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