Cupboards have been emptied onto floors, walls and windows are pitted with what appear to be bullet holes. A statue of Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a Nigerian separatist group, is missing a hand and an arm. Mr Kanu’s family compound in Umuahia, the sleepy capital of Abia state in south-eastern Nigeria, was raided by soldiers on September 14th. His brother, Emmanuel, claims 28 people were killed and says he has not heard from Mr Kanu since. The army denies the raid even happened. Meanwhile Mr Kanu, who was charged with conspiracy to commit treason two years ago, failed to attend a bail hearing on October 17th.

His disappearance illustrates how the unhealed wounds of Nigeria’s brutal civil war have been reopened in recent years. That conflict, which was fought between the breakaway Republic of Biafra and the Nigerian state, resulted in the loss of almost a million lives between 1966 and 1970. Separatist sentiment, which lay largely dormant since then, has started to simmer again, as people with no memory of the war have come of age and been seduced by the idea that the region is not getting its fair share of spending.


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