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Police say they arrested 83 Biafran protesters in Bayelsa state

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Nigerian police said they arrested more than 80 members of a Biafran separatist movement on Friday during one of a series of protests across the oil-rich southeast against the detention of the group’s leader.

This comes amidst reports that the Indigenous People of Biafra have retained lawyer Prof. Dr. Göran Sluiter to file a complaint against Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari before the International Criminal Court at the Hague. 

The 78 men and five women were detained in a motorpark in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa state, “because they want to foment troubles and unleash mayhem” said Bayelsa police spokesman Anisim Butswat.

Members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) protested in Onitsha as security agents kill 2 persons.

Soldiers reportedly shot at unarmed protesters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State and in delta State. [see photos]

Witnesses reported other rallies in at least four other areas, and one activist said police fired tear gas at marchers from Imo state walking to Bayelsa state border, though there was no independent confirmation.

Secessionist feeling has continued to simmer in the region since the Biafra separatist rebellion tipped the country into a 1967-70 civil war that killed an estimated 1 million people.

The Indigenous Peoples of Biafra group called for a “million man march” on Friday after their leader Nnamdi Kanu was arrested in Nigeria on charges relating to broadcasts by his Radio Biafra station.

It was not immediately clear if the group had attracted anywhere near that number of people onto the streets.

Meanwhile the indigenous people of Biafra have retained Dutch lawyer, Prof. Dr. Göran Sluiter. He has been instructed to file a criminal complaint against Nigerian President Buhari before the International Criminal Court (ICC), on account of crimes against humanity.

The people of Biafra, living in the South of Nigeria, have been trying to exercise their right to self-determination for decades now. They have been systematically oppressed by the Nigerian government and have suffered serious human rights violations, amounting to crimes against humanity.

With the election of new Nigerian President Buhari, violence and crimes committed against the people of Biafra have intensified. This is exemplified by the recent unlawful arrest and detention of Biafra’s leader, mr. Nnamdi  Kanu, since 14 October 2015.

Prof. Dr. Sluiter is convinced that there is more than enough evidence to have the ICC Prosecutor conclude that the people of Biafra are the victim of crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC and that President Buhari plays an essential role in these crimes.

He also points out that the situation in Nigeria –including other crimes committed by Buhari, namely the electoral violence of 2011- has been under preliminary examination of the ICC for some time now and that the moment has come for the Prosecutor of the ICC to launch a full criminal investigation.

The criminal complaint will be finalized on short notice and will –in the interests of justice and transparency- be made available to the public, the Lawyer stated.

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