No fewer than 16 members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), were yesterday feared dead, when a combined team of the Army, Police and SSS raided MASSOB offices in the commercial city of Onitsha.
83 members of the group were also said to have sustained bullet wounds, while over 500 others were arrested.
MASSOB’s National Director of Information and the Onitsha Region four Administrator, Uchenna Madu and Chief Arinze Igbani, stated that the raid was a renewed plot by the Army to resume the systematic clampdown on MASSOB.
The duo said that, a detachment of security operatives, numbering over 50, allegedly stormed MASSOB office along ‘Pam Pam’ lane located inside the Onitsha Main Market and when they could not find any member inside the office, they broke in, vandalised the office, set the Biafran flag ablaze and then ordered all the neighbourhood to lie down and swim on the flood.
They said that the actions were unwarranted, especially in Onitsha where the group had severally assisted security agents by arresting kidnappers and robbers, and handing them over to the police.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the action of the security operatives was fueled by a violent protest on Sunday by youths from Obosi, while demanding tenement rate from residents.
The youths were said to have adorned MASSOB insignia, giving them away as members of the group. Madu insisted that the youths are not their members but may have been up to mischief if they actually wore their t-shirts.
Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Emeka Chukwuemeka, confirmed the operation but noted that he was yet to be officially briefed on the number of arrests and casualties recorded.