The separatist group Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) is set to stage a general stay-at-home strike throughout the south and southeast of the country regions on Friday, September 14, to denounce alleged ethnic and religious persecution and to commemorate the one-year anniversary of a deadly government crackdown on the IPOB movement. Associated protests are also possible. The 24-hour strike is expected to begin at 00:01 (local time). Businesses, schools, markets, and transportation services could all be affected. A heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions are expected in the area for the duration of the strike, and clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out. Additional related demonstrations are possible in the coming days and weeks.
Conflicts between Biafra separatists and the central Nigerian government are recurrent in the south. In January, the Nigerian High Court upheld an earlier ruling that labeled the IPOB as a terrorist group.
The so-called Biafra region includes various southeastern (Abia, Anambra, Imo, Enugu, and Ebonyi) and southern states (Delta, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Bayelsa, Rivers, and Cross River). Igbos, a mostly-Christian tribe that represents most of the southeastern population, seceded on May 30, 1967, to establish the Republic of Biafra, sparking a brutal civil war that resulted in an estimated 1 million deaths. The desire for a sovereign Biafra was in reaction to what was called the "Igbo genocide in the north" and other instances of ethnic marginalization by the government. The rebellion was put down by the much stronger federal army.
Individuals in Nigeria are advised to remain vigilant at all times, avoid all demonstrations and sites where clashes are particularly likely (government buildings, places of worship, tourist sites, etc.), and if possible avoid nonessential travel to affected regions.
On a separate note, travelers are advised to follow any orders issued by authorities and abide by all curfews in effect. The security environment in Nigeria is complex and is particularly concerning in the northeast and extreme south of the country due to the presence of armed groups, high crime rates, and the risk of kidnapping. Some Western governments consequently advise against travel to certain areas of the northeast (e.g. states of Borno, Yobe, Gombe, Bauchi, and Jigawa as well as parts of Kano and Adamawa states) and the southern Niger Delta region (e.g. states of Delta, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers). Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel to these areas.
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