Missing Biafra leader fails to appear in court
The leader of a group calling for the secession of the Nigerian territory formerly known as Biafra did not appear at a court hearing raising concern among supporters who say they haven’t seen him in weeks. Nnamdi Kanu’s family and backers say they haven’t heard from him since what they said was a military raid on his home on September 14. Nigeria’s army denied any such raid happened.
Uncertainty over the whereabouts of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader has stoked tensions in a region where campaigners have stepped up calls for separation. A million people died in a three year civil war over the short-lived Republic of Biafra.
Kanu was charged with conspiracy to commit treason in October 2015 and released on bail in April on medical grounds. “I don’t know where my client is,” his lawyer Ifeanyi Ejiofor told the court. “The home of the first defendant was invaded by soldiers and since that time I have not heard from him. I cannot tell … whether the first defendant is alive or dead.”
Nigeria sent reinforcements to the south-eastern region last month in a bid to control tensions. A Reuters team saw bullet holes and smashed windows during a visit to his house in Umuahia two weeks after his family reported a raid happened.
At the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, the prosecution said the three people who provided surety should forfeit their bail bond and be imprisoned. The case was adjourned to November 20.