operatives yesterday killed about 16 members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and injured 83 others as they raided the offices of the group in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State and its environs. Also arrested during the raid that lasted from Monday night to yesterday morning were over 500 members of the group, including women at different locations in the state. The MASSOB National Director of Information and the Onitsha Region Four Administrator, Uchenna Madu and Chief Arinze Igbani, who briefed reporters over the incident, declared that the raid on their offices by the security operatives was unwarranted and provocative, saying that it was a renewed plot by the army to resume a systematic clampdown on MASSOB. Madu said : “At about 5 p.m., a detachment of security operatives, numbering over 50, allegedly broke into MASSOB office along ‘Pam Pam’ lane at the Onitsha Main Market. They vandalized the office, set the Biafran flag ablaze and then ordered all those in the neighbourhood to lie down in the flood.” He also alleged that the team invaded MASSOB’s central office along Kilometre Seven , Owerri Road, Onitsha where a security meeting of the movement was holding and opened fire on the people, arresting and killing some of the members on the spot. The team also allegedly made away with the bodies of the dead persons. The MASSOB leaders urged the immediate and unconditional release of all its members that were arrested or they be arraigned in court. They also urged security operatives to stop further attacks on MASSOB offices, and that they should respect the sanctity of the Biafran flag. “MASSOB is non-violent, we have assisted the security operatives in fishing out criminals especially in Onitsha where we have handed over 15 notorious armed robbers and car snatchers to the police”, he said. They appealed to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Azubike Ihejirika and the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Abubakar to call their
men to order, suggesting that the state Commissioner of Police and the Onitsha 302 Army Commander should always contact the MASSOB leaders whenever they thought they were going beyond control. When contacted, the 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.