Lawyer for Biafran separatist alleges abuse, Kenya denies involvement | World news
YENAGOA, Nigeria (Reuters) – A Nigerian separatist leader arrested after years on the run was abused in Kenya detention before being returned to Nigeria, his lawyer said on Friday, while the Kenyan high commissioner flatly denied the involvement of his country.
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous Peoples Group of Biafra (IPOB), disappeared from Nigeria after he skipped bail in 2017.
He appeared on Tuesday, handcuffed and hooded, in a court in Abuja, flanked by security officers. Nigerian authorities said he was captured abroad and brought back to face charges, but declined to say where he was captured.
Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, said on Friday that Kanu was abducted by the Kenya Special Police Force and held for eight days before being handed over to Nigerian authorities.
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“He was tortured and subjected to all forms of inhuman treatment which worsened his state of health,” Ejiofor said in a statement.
Wilfred Machage, Kenya’s high commissioner to Nigeria, has categorically denied his country’s involvement in Kanu’s arrest. In a statement posted on Twitter, he called such an accusation “fictitious, imaginary and deliberately concocted to fuel antagonistic sentiments among certain sections of the Nigerian people.”
IPOB’s 1967 campaign for an independent nation in southeastern Nigeria called the Republic of Biafra sparked a three-year civil war in which over a million people died, mostly from hunger.
Kanu faces 11 counts, including treason, terrorism and illegal possession of firearms. His case is scheduled to resume in court on July 26 and 27.
(Reporting by Tife Owolabi, writing by Libby George; editing by Howard Goller)
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