Nigerian judge says Biafran separatist must appear in court

2018-11-15 05:50


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A Nigerian judge on Wednesday said she wants a missing pro-Biafra leader back in court after he resurfaced in Israel following a months-long disappearance.

Nnamdi Kanu, the head of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) movement, is charged with treason after pushing for a separate homeland for the Igbo people of southeast Nigeria.

He was given bail under strict conditions last year but has not appeared in court since.

He was last seen in September 2017 before troops raided his family home in Umuahia, the capital of the southeastern Abia state, during a crackdown on IPOB.

Last month a video of Kanu appeared on social media showing him praying in Israel, and an interview with him was also broadcast on television, though the Israeli embassy wouldn't confirm if he was in the country.

At the hearing of Kanu's trial in Nigeria's capital Abuja on Wednesday, judge Binta Nyako ordered the three people who stood surety for Kanu to produce him in court or forfeit their bonds.

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"I want you to go out to look for Nnamdi Kanu, I gave you a Nnamdi Kanu and you have lost him and I'm not happy with you. I want him back," Nyako said.

Before Kanu's conditional release, the three sureties were made to each deposit 100 million naira ($27 200).

The court said they risk being jailed if they fail to produce Kanu.

The case adjourned to March 28, 2019.

Kanu, who also runs the outlawed pirate radio station Radio Biafra, was first arrested in October 2015, sparking a wave of demonstrations calling for his release across southeast Nigeria.

The former London estate agent maintains the Igbo are a lost tribe of Israel and it is his mission to lead them to the promised land of Biafra.

A previous unilateral declaration of Biafran independence in 1967 sparked a brutal civil war that lasted 30 months and left at least one million dead from starvation and disease.

Read more on:    nnamdi kanu  |  nigeria  |  west africa

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