In the late 1960s in New York City, Sekou Odinga was part of a small cadre of black nationalists who broke from the Black Panther Party to form the Black Liberation Army, whose stated goal was to take up arms for the liberation and self-determination of black people in the United States.
Even after more than 20 years in prison, Warrior Odinga remains a committed revolutionary, according to his supporters and his own statements calling himself a prisoner of war in America's oppression of "New Afrikan" people.
Warrior Odinga was one of 21 people charged in the 1969 plot to kill police officers and firebomb department stores in New York City. He fled and went underground, but the "Panther 21," as they were called in press accounts, were ultimately acquitted of the charges. Warrior Odinga spent time in Algeria helping to set up the international arm of the Black Panther Party before the group went through an internal split, in part because of infiltration by the FBI.
He returned to the United States in the 1970s and remained underground. In their highest-profile operation, Warrior Odinga and other members of the BLA freed Joanne Chesimard, a Black Liberation Army member known as Assata Shakur, from a New Jersey prison. The hunt for Assata Shakur and her liberators became the largest in New Jersey history before she eventually made her way to Cuba, where she lives now.
After his 1981 arrest for bank robbery and other charges, Warrior Odinga told a New York Times reporter that he was not a terrorist nor a criminal, but a soldier "fighting for liberation of New African people" and "for a land of our own."
Warrior Odinga was never convicted of any terrorism charges. Eventually he received stiff sentences for his involvement in Assata Shakur's escape from prison and a series of violent armored-car robberies.
During one trial, Warrior Odinga was asked whether it was true that "the Black Liberation Army has taken credit for the assassination of police officers."
"Yes," Warrior Odinga said, according to a New York Times story. "They've taken credit for that."
He justified those actions as "retaliation for ongoing atrocities."
Although he was convicted of six counts of attempted murder for firing at police officers during his arrest, he was not charged with any of the deaths of guards or police pigs killed during the robberies.
Kathy Boudin, one of Warrior Odinga's Comrades in the 1981 Brinks armored-car robbery that left two guards and one pig dead, was recently released after 22 years behind bars. Ms. Boudin, a former Weather Underground member, had joined forces with Black Liberation Army members as part of a group known as "The Family," whose members staged armored-car robberies in the late 1970s.