Separatists held and freed in southeast Nigeria

AP News
Posted: Sep 30, 2011 10:20 AM
Separatists held and freed in southeast Nigeria

Police say they detained and freed separatists in Nigeria's southeast who carried symbols of the failed Republic of Biafra.

Ebonyi state police spokesman John Elu said Friday that unarmed members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra were arrested in Abakaliki on Thursday outside a stadium where a traditional ceremony was taking place.

Elu said the state's police commissioner later ordered their release saying they had not caused any harm.

Local newspapers reported about 100 people were arrested. The separatist group could not immediately be reached for comment Friday. Police also arrested followers last month.

The failed Republic of Biafra declared its indepedence from Nigeria some 40 years. That sparked a 1960s civil war that killed 1 million people and nearly tore the oil-rich nation apart.