Nigerian police have accused a detained rebel leader from the oil-producing Niger Delta of killings, arms dealing, oil smuggling and other crimes, raising the prospect of a trial that could destabilise the area. Henry Okah was extradited from Angola to Nigeria a week ago and uncertainty over his fate has already increased tensions in Delta.

Anger among militants over what they see as government persecution of a man they hail as a freedom fighter risks igniting a new round of violence and derailing peace talks.

“Henry Okah … has been identified as an international gun-runner and a major oil bunkerer,” the police said in a statement. The police said Okah was under investigation for financing militant activities in the delta, taking hostages, piracy, killing oil workers and troops, sabotage on the oil industry, bank robberies, theft of arms and promotion of secessionism.

If Okah goes on trial the whole Delta could ignite….