BY VINCENT UJUMADU
…Police deny allegation, say only one killed
AWKA – THE Move ment for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, claimed yesterday in Onitsha that no fewer than 16 of its members were feared dead and 83 others sustained injuries when a combined team of Army, the Police and State Security Service, SSS, allegedly raided MASSOB offices in the commercial city and its environs.
But the police public relations officer, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, told Vanguard that only one person, who confronted soldiers during a special operation to rid the town of hoodlums was killed.
He said the operation was part of measures to rid the state of criminals, saying security agencies would not watch while hoodlums continued to create state of insecurity in the state.
MASSOB director of information, Mr. Uchenna Madu and his Region 4 director, Chief Arinze Igbani, had, at a briefing, said the combined security team also arrested over 500 members of the group, including women at different locations during the raid that was carried out between Monday and Tuesday.
They also said the operatives raided their offices and removed valuable items. Describing the latest attack as unwarranted, MASSOB said it was a renewed plot by the Army and other groups to resume the systematic clampdown on the organisation.
According to the MASSOB leaders, “at about 5pm on Monday, a detachment of security operatives, numbering over 50, stormed MASSOB office along Pam -Pam lane located inside the Onitsha Main Market and when they could not find any member there, they broke into the office and vandalized it”, noting that they allegedly set the Biafran flag ablaze and then ordered people found in the neighborhood to lie down and swim on the flood.
They claimed that the security team also invaded the MASSOB central office on Kilometre 7, along the Onitsha – Owerri road, where a security meeting of the movement was holding at the time and opened fire on the members, killing some on the spot and arrested others. They also made away with the corpses, MASSOB claimed.
The MASSOB leaders demanded the immediate and unconditional release of their members that were arrested or in the alternative, arraign them in court.
While warning security operatives to desist from further attacks on MASSOB offices and to respect the