ABUJA, 30 June 2021 – The leader of the campaign for a breakaway Republic of Biafra in Nigeria has been arrested, according to many concurrent news reports Tuesday.
Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was apparently arrested with the help of the global police organization, INTERPOL.
None of the reports published Tuesday said where Mazi Kanu was arrested.
Early Wednesday, the Lagos-based Punch Newspaper said he was arrested in Kenya.
Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami was cited by The Punch Newspapers as saying the Biafra leader was detained on Sunday with the help of INTERPOL.
According to the paper, he was flown back to Nigeria where he was arraigned before a court of law.
Supporters of Mazi Kanu have accused both the Nigerian authorities and officials of INTERPOL of rendition.
Neither the Nigerian government nor INTERPOL have commented on the accusation of rendition.
On Tuesday, Cho Ayaba, the leader of one of the factions of the breakaway Republic of Southern Cameroons aka Ambazonia, accused the Nigerian government of the rendition of Mazi Kanu, recalling that Ambazonian leaders who were based in Nigeria or sought asylum there suffered the same fate.
The reports do not say what charges have been brought against the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Nigerian authorities recently labeled IPOB a terrorist organization and many assume that Mazi Kanu has been charged with terrorism, among other charges.
Mazi Kanu is believed to be in detention with the Nigerian secret police at an undisclosed location.
When Mazi Kanu was arrested and detained in 2015 on treason charges, the territory corresponding to the wannabe state of Biafra erupted in massive and often violent protests.
He later fled Nigeria in 2017 while out on bail.
His London-based Radio Biafra has been accused of aiding and abetting what Nigerian officials call terrorism.
The Republic of Biafra was first declared independent in 1967, leading to a civil war in which up to one million mostly Igbo people were slaughtered.
The secession attempt collapsed, surrendering to the federal government of Nigeria and its leader, General Ojuku, leaving the country on exile.
The young army commander who led some of the most bloody crackdowns against Biafra is Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recently, Buhari suggested in a tweet that his regime could lead a repeat of the same kind of mass slaughter unless the mostly Igbo people of Biafra give up their claim to sovereignty as an independent state.
Buhari’s comments led to a brief suspension of his Twitter account, which infuriated the Nigerian leader and his government.
Twitter has been officially banned in Nigeria on account of that suspension.
Mazi Kanu had his account on Facebook and YouTube briefly suspended as well after a video posted on it appeared to justify or glorify the killing of herdsmen from northern parts of Nigeria.
Last year, IPOB announced the setting up of an armed wing called the Eastern Security Network (ESN) whose members have been accused of attacking perceived “enemies” of IPOB.
Without sharing any evidence to justify their accusations, Nigerian authorities have accused members of ESN of attacking, burning down, and looting weapons from police stations as well as killing police officers.
President Buhari has vowed to crush IPOB.
Last month, the Nigerian leader said those fomenting trouble in Nigeria will be dealt with in “the language they will understand”.
During a recent television interview, Buhari referred to IPOB as a “dot in a circle” that can easily be crushed.
Many human rights campaigners slammed the Buhari administration for the comment, pointing out that they believed the Nigerian leader meant crushing not only IPOB but the Igbo people who are the biggest supporters of the organization.