Biafra independence protests: At least 100 arrested in Nigeria


A soldier salutes after arranging the boots and cap on the casket of Nigeria's secessionist leader Odumegwu Ojukwu during his funeral at his native Nnewi country home in Anambra State eastern Nigeria, on March 2, 2012. Odumegwu Ojukwu, who championed the campaign for an independent Republic of Biafra in eastern Nigeria in the 1960s culminating in a 30-month civil war which left more than a million dead was buried at his Nnewi family home in Anambra State.


Utomi Ekpei

Biafran independence protests in south-eastern Nigeria spurred at least 100 arrests for treason. 

Members of the Biafran Zionist Movement (BZM) raised the former break-away state's flag and protested by marching through the streets of Enugu, according to the Africa Review. The group had initially gathered on Sunday to mark the birthday of Chukwuemeka Ojukwu, a former Biafran leader who died in March.

The south-eastern Nigerian state seceded in May 1967, calling itself the Republic of Biafra, an act which led up to the Nigerian civil war. The ensuing conflict left over a million people dead, and the independent state reneged on its separation in 1970, according to BBC News

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BBC Correspondent Will Ross in Lagos said that a small number of separatists "still keep their dream alive, despite the threat of being charged with treason." 

Ebere Amaraizu, The Police Public Relations Officer of the state, said that the Nigerian police received a tip-off about the protests, Nigeria's Channels TV station reported. The suspected BZM members were reportedly arrested in possession of 61 Biafra flags and other countries' flags as well. 

Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe has just released a memoir on the Biafran conflict in September, and another novel about that time period, "Half of a Yellow Sun" by the author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, is being adapted for the big screen, as BBC pointed out. 

More from GlobalPost: Nigerian author Chinua Achebe publishes new book, "There Was a Country," a memoir of Biafran war