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US citizens arrested in Nigeria for taking photos during Kanu’s trial

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Nigeria's Department of State Services personnel

ABUJA — Two foreigners suspected of being American journalists were arrested Monday July 26 in Nigeria for having taken photos on the eve of the trial of Biafran pro- independence leader Nnamdi Kanu.

According to the report, the two men were arrested by the country’s secret service — Department of State Services at a hotel, Treasure Suites, opposite the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court.

The Peoples Gazette reports that a phone belonging to another man in the hotel was seized by the DSS, who accuses him of following the trial of the separatist leader from the hotel.

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“They even entered the hotel and got the manager to show them their CCTV footage to be able to locate one of the men and seized his phone,” a police officer told Peoples Gazette at the scene.

The Nigerian had announced banned on international and other media from covering the trial of Mr. Kanu in court.

A statement signed by Chief Information Officer, Catherine Oby Christopher on Monday noted that the DSS has only accredited 10 Nigerian media organizations, namely: ThisDay, Premium Times, The Nation, Daily Independent, The Herald, National Television Authority , Continental Television, African Independent Television, Daily Post and Channels Television.

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No reason was given by authorities who refused to comment on the sudden violation of press freedom and citizens’ rights to monitor a trial.

Nnamdi Kanu, human rights activist is currently being held in the Nigeria’s Department of State Services detention center in Abuja after being seized in Kenya and illegally repatriated to the country.

The separatist leader who had fled to Israel in 2017 when his home was raided by soldiers who killed many civilians in an attempt to assassinate him, faces charges of treason and other unfounded crimes, for calling for a referendum on the independent state of Biafra in the east of the country.

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Shooting between separatists, Cameroonian forces kills civilians

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A soldier was killed on Monday by separatist fighters who seized his weapons and left his body in a bush.

A civilian was killed in a shootout between separatist fighters and government forces in Mbalangi, southwest Cameroon.

Four other civilians were injured in the incident on Tuesday.

Government forces were heading to clear a roadblock when the incident occurred, said Cameroon News Agency, which added that an explosive device had been detonated in Ediki.

A faction of separatists in Cameroon had announced a two-week lockdown which it said will begin on September 15 and end on October 2, 2021.

In the Tatum Bui division, in the north-western region of the country, a soldier was killed on Monday by separatist fighters who seized his weapons and left his body in a bush.

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The shootout between government forces and armed separatists seeking an independent state known as Ambazonia, has left scores of civilians dead and injured since the Cameroonian government headed by President Paul Biya failed in establishing a dialogue with aggrieved citizens.

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Nigeria recaptures 108 inmates after prison outbreak

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Owerri prison after jailbreak 2021. On April 5, gunmen raided Owerri police headquarters, in Nigeria’s southern Imo state, freeing more than 1,800 inmates.

At least 108 out of 240 inmates who escaped from a prison in central Nigeria have been recaptured, a prison official said Tuesday.

Heavily armed gunmen stormed the Security Custodial Centre in Kabba, in Kogi State, late on Sunday, freeing scores of inmates.

It was unclear who the gunmen were but criminal gangs have terrorised central and northwest Nigeria for years.

“We have a total of 108 inmates rearrested,” Nigeria’s correctional service spokesman Francis Enobore told AFP by phone.

“But as the day progresses, the figure will definitely increase,” he added, saying “several processes have been activated to ensure all inmates are rearrested.”

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At about 2245 GMT on Sunday, the spokesman had said earlier in a statement, numerous attackers “engaged the armed guards in a fierce gun battle.”

The gunmen invaded the prison, which had 294 prisoners in custody at the time, including 224 pre-trial detainees.

A soldier and a police officer lost their lives in the attack, Enobore later added.

Large prison outbreaks are not uncommon in Nigeria.

On April 5, gunmen raided Owerri police headquarters, in Nigeria’s southern Imo state, freeing more than 1,800 inmates.

In addition to fighting criminal gangs who also kidnap people for ransom and rustle cattle, Nigeria’s security forces are facing a violent jihadist insurgency in the northeast and separatist agitation in the southeast.

ALSO READ:   Gunshots, military brutalities recorded in Owerri on the eve of Biafra day

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Biafran separatists to shut Nigeria’s eastern region on September 14

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Youths rally in Anambra 2018, in support of the separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu.

The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a Biafran pro-independence group, has announced that the southeastern region of Nigeria will be closed on September 14, 2021, to mark what they call “saboteurs day”.

The separatist group said the “saboteurs day” is a day to remember— September 14, 2017, when government forces raided the home of its leader Nnamdi Kanu in Umuahia, where they killed at least 28 civilians in an attempted assassinate the separatist leader.

It is also a day to remember all those who betrayed their comrades and sabotaged the struggle to restore the sovereign state of Biafra, said IPOB.

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No official statement is made on the issue by the Federal Government of Nigeria which has almost lost control of the eastern region of the country.

Meanwhile, Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the IPOB is still detained by the Nigerian authorities who had illegally repatriated him in July 2021 to Nigeria after his arrest in Kenya.

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