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The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) has made a legal move to block the transfer of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria’s air force and to seek the return of six that were recently delivered.
U.S. Constitutional lawyer Bruce Fein filed the case on behalf of IPOB and 10 unidentified individuals based in southeastern Nigeria.
IPOB sued US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin over the sale of attack planes that it says will be used to persecute its supporters.
A report by Bloomberg said IPOB, submitted a complaint against Blinken and Austin, two of US President Joe Biden’s top officials in a federal court in Washington on Saturday.
The organisation is asking a judge to direct Blinken and Austin to block the transfer of six A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to Nigeria’s air force and to seek the return of six that were recently delivered
Nigeria’s government ordered the attack and reconnaissance planes to help it tackle an insurgency in the northeast that has lasted 12 years and claimed more than 30,000 lives.
The Super Tucano propeller aircraft are equipped with precision-guided munitions and have been used for counter-insurgency operations in countries from Afghanistan to Colombia.
The plaintiffs “reasonably fear that the A-29 Super Tucano aircraft will be used imminently to kill or maim them physically or to destroy their property”, according to the complaint.
IPOB says it is a peaceful movement working to establish an independent nation to defend the Igbo ethnic group against discrimination by the federal government in the West African country.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari accuses the organisation of waging a violent campaign against state personnel and assets and said he would deal with its members ‘in the language they understand’.