Some Nigerian football fans were on Saturday expelled from a football stadium in Senegal for displaying Biafran flags.
The fans were expelled minutes after they displayed Biafran flags alongside Nigerian flags at a football match between Nigeria and Algeria at the U-23 African Cup of Nations holding in Dakar, the Senegalese capital.
There have been protests in South-East Nigeria by Igbos who demand for a separate Biafran country. Biafra was also the name adopted by the Eastern Nigeria during the civil war between 1967 and 1970, after which a ‘no victor, no vanquish’ was declared by the federal government after Biafra was defeated.
On Saturday, the Senegalese football association officials considered the display of the Biafran flags at the Leopold Sedar Senghor stadium “a militant act”.
As a result, the Vice President of the Senegalese Football Federation, FSF, Amadou Kane, who was in charge of the organisation, ordered security officials to respond by tearing down the Biafran flags and posters and expelling the supporters involved.
Senegalese FA officials said the group took advantage of the presence of the media at the stadium to raise the Biafran flag.
Dressed in T-shirts with the Biafra logo, eye witnesses said the group “invaded” the left wing of the covered pavilion to flaunt the Biafran flag alongside that of Nigeria. They later displayed a large flag calling for Biafran autonomy.
The match eventually ended 0-0 with Nigeria coming second in Group B with five points, behind Algeria.
Nigeria will face Senegal in the semi-final next week while Algeria will battle South Africa.