Nigerian police arrest over 100 ‘Biafran separatists’

Tires burn in 2006, set alight by suspected activists of the Movement for the Actualisation for the State of Biafra
AFP/File-Pius Utomi Ekpei

AFP – Nigerian police on Monday arrested 101 alleged members of a secessionist movement based in the country’s southeast in the latest such sweep in the region, authorities said.

According to police, the alleged members of the “Biafra Zionist Movement” (BZM) were found in possession of secessionist emblems.

They had staged a march in the city of Enugu, a major town in the southeast, early in the day.

“A magistrates’ court in Enugu remanded in prison custody the suspects who were earlier arrested… for illegal assembly,” police spokesman Ebere Amaraizu told AFP.

He said that BZM was a faction of the banned Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).

They were in possession of 61 Biafran and other flags, 13 berets, three bands and eight registration forms at the time of the arrest, he said.

A resident said that the suspects — hoisting the flags — marched through some streets of Enugu.

Residents of southeastern Nigeria seceded from the country in 1967 after massacres of Igbo people, who dominate the region, and formed the nation of Biafra.

A 1967-1970 civil war followed that saw more than one million people die, many from starvation and disease.

Since the war ended, sporadic attempts have been made to revive the Biafra movement, which have led to arrests.

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