Nigerian junta frees nine political detainees

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria’s new military leader ordered the release Monday of nine of the nation’s most prominent political prisoners — including a former head of state, union leaders and pro-democracy activists.
However, the nation’s best-known political prisoner, Moshood Abiola, apparent winner of 1993’s nullified presidential election, was not listed among those to be freed.
The prisoners were being held in jails across this sprawling West African country. It was not immediately clear exactly when they would return home.
Nigeria’s new military ruler, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar, “ordered the immediate release of some detainees and prisoners to facilitate the process of national reconciliation and reconstruction,” his press secretary, David Atta, said.
The new military leader urged those granted amnesty to “cooperate” with the government to create “the country of our dreams.”
Abubakar also appealed to the international community to appreciate the regime’s efforts “at solving our problems and show greater understanding and sensitivity to our internal affairs.”