Nigeria: MASSOB, Police in Deadly Clash in Delta, Imo

A fight broke out between policemen and some people suspected to be members of the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) in Asaba on Monday, witnesses said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that the incident occurred along Anwai Road in the city when MASSOB members were marching to demand independence for a proposed separatist Biafra.

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

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

A witness, Uche Okelue, said 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,” Mr. Okelue said.

Another witness, Ben Onwordi, said another clash occurred 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.

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 told NAN that MASSOB members 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, 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,” Mr. Mouka said.

17 MASSOB members arrested in Imo

The police in Owerri, Imo State on Monday arrested some 17 members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) for holding a road show in commemoration of 49th anniversary of Biafra.

The Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, who confirmed the arrests, said those arrested would be prosecuted.

The MASSOB members began the march at Waterside Primary School, Owerri, from where they moved to Rotibi Street to Oguamana Street before linking Douglas Road.

At Douglas Road the marchers met heavily armed security men, who threw teargas at them at Ama JK end of the street and arrested some.

Okechukwu Nwogu, a leader of MASSOB, said it was regrettable that the police arrested members of the group who were on a peaceful march to commemorate the 49th anniversary of Biafra and 17th anniversary of MASSOB.

“What Nigeria government is doing to us is very unfair; MASSOB is a non-violent group moving without arms in remembrance of our history.

“Nwogu called on Igbo leaders to come out and speak for Igbo people being unjustly treated by security forces.

Earlier Canice Anojuru, the spokesman for MASSOB in Owerri zone, said the group decided to hold the road show to awaken the consciousness of the people of the defunct Biafra.

Mr. Anojuru said the road show was to draw the attention of international community to the plight of Biafra people.

He added that the group had achieved a lot despite obvious challenges.

On the recent invasion of Nimbo community in Enugu state by suspected Fulani herdsmen, the group advised the people of south-east to be more vigilant to forestall future attacks in the area.

“As a group, we frown at the rate at which human beings were killed and maimed, farmlands destroyed, women raped, and buildings razed by these Fulani herdsmen.

‘”We are calling on all people of Southeast area to be more vigilant and extra careful over this recent development,” Mr. Anojuru said.

The group advised people of the area to be careful in engaging people whose identity were not clear to them as security men, gardeners and house-keepers.

Source: Premium Times