The leader of a group calling for the secession of a Nigerian territory formerly known as Biafra did not appear at a court hearing on Tuesday, stoking concerns among his supporters who say they haven’t seen him in weeks.
Nnamdi Kanu’s family and backers say they haven’t heard from him since what they described as a military raid on his home in the southeastern region on Sept 14. Nigeria’s army has denied any such raid took place.
Uncertainty over the whereabouts of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) leader has stoked tensions in a region where campaigners have stepped up calls for separation. A million people died in a 1967-70 civil war over the short-lived Republic of Biafra.
Kanu was charged with conspiracy to commit treason in October 2015 and released on bail in April on medical grounds.
“I don’t know where my client is,” his lawyer Ifeanyi Ejiofor told the court. “The home of the first defendant was invaded by soldiers and since that time I have not heard from him. I cannot tell … whether the first defendant is alive or dead.”
Nigeria sent reinforcements to the southeastern region last month in a bid to control tensions.
A Reuters team saw bullet holes and smashed windows during a visited to his house in the city of Umuahia two weeks after his family reported a raid took place.
At the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, the prosecution said the three people who provided surety should forfeit their bail bond and be imprisoned.
The case was adjourned until Nov. 20.
This report was first published by the Reuters news agency.