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Update: Biafra Day: MASSOB Distances Members from Onitsha, Asaba Violence



The Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has said the organisation had nothing to do with the bloody clash between soldiers and some demonstrators in Onitsha and Asaba, Monday

MASSOB leader, Uchenna Madu, denied that they were never involved in the demonstrations that took a violent turn in the two cities.

 “We’re not involved in the protest that paralysed commercial activities in the areas.”

He said MASSOB had earlier in a statement told its members that this year’s Biafra Day would be celebrated quietly and told them to stay at home.

While denying his members were involved, however, he denounced security operatives for killing non violent people.

He said, “Security operatives of the Federal Government are arresting and killing people who are non-violent. Is it because we are not armed? It appears the only language the Nigerian security understands is violence.

“This issue is not about MASSOB or IPOD. It is about Ndigbo generally. In the ongoing killings, innocent people were also targets.

“The government is negotiating with Niger Delta militants and faceless Boko Haram, but is threatening to wipe out pro-Biafra agitators because they are Igbo.”

Thete reports earlier on Monday that scores of people were killed, while many others were injured in a fight that broke out between security operatives and members of the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Asaba and Onitsha, said to be marking Biafra Day.

The incident was said to have occurred along Anwai Road in Asaba when MASSOB members were marching to demand for the independence of Biafra.

Witnesses said some persons, including policemen, injured in the fracas, were taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.

A nurse at the FMC, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed that some of the injured were brought to the hospital.

An eyewitness, Uche Okelue, said that the fracas broke out after a police team threw teargas at the marchers in an effort to disperse them.

“The police used teargas on the MASSOB people as they were protesting along Anwai Road this morning, so the people got angry and attacked the policemen with knives and broken bottles.

“They caught one policeman, beat him up before stabbing him to death; it was a fierce confrontation as everyone ran in different directions,” Okelue said.

Another eyewitness, Mr Ben Onwordi, said that thete was another fight between the police and MASSOB members at the popular Mammy Market Junction on Nnebisi Road, Asaba.

“As the group were protesting, the police patrol vehicle came behind them and tried to disperse them but the MASSOB people resisted and in the process they clashed and many people were injured.

“The MASSOB people damaged the police patrol vehicle, vandalising the windscreen and doors before all of them fled into different directions,” Onwordi said.

It was also learnt that yet another clash occurred at the River Niger Bridge on the border between Delta and Anambra states when some MASSOB members tried to conduct a similar rally.

A police source who pleaded anonymity noted that MASSOB members had attacked some policemen at the bridge head, overpowering two of them, before throwing them into the river.

“We have been able to retrieve one of them from the river. He was brought out in an unconscious mood and rushed to the hospital, however, the second victim is still missing,” he said.

When contacted, the spokesperson for the Police Command in Delta, Mr Charles Mouka, a Superintendent of Police, said the police were still monitoring the situation.

“We are still waiting for information on the incident. As I speak to you now, we are in the field, so I cannot say anything for now,” Mouka said.


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