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Police detain Catholic priest, five others for alleged membership of pro-Biafra body, MASSOB

By Julie Sylvia, Onitsha

A Catholic priest of Awka Diocese, Rev. Fr. Samuel Aniebonem and five others were on Wednesday, detained for purportedly belonging to the  pro-Biafra body, Movement for Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, by the  anti-kidnapping section of the Nigeria Police at Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area, Anambra State 

The development followed that earlier event of the week, in which three persons were arrested when the police raided MASSOB's office along Awkuzu/ Otuocha road in Ifitedunu, Dunukofia Local Government Area (LGA).

Trouble started for Rev. Fr. Aniebonem who works at St Patrick's Cathedral Church, Awka, Anambra State, and hails from Ifitedunu town,  when, as an in-law to one of the arrested members of BIM-MASSOB, he went to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Awkuzu, on Wednesday, to know what had transpired that led to the arrest of his 87-year-oldin-law, Sylvester Dinyelu, and possibly effect his release.

On getting to the station he was also arrested and detained on suspicion that he might be a member of the  movement.

His driver, Udebunu Anachuna, who drove him to the station was equally arrested alongside other men, identified as Christian Ifeji, Johnson Anagor and Kanayo Madu.

A similar development occurred in  Onitsha when Mr. Mathew Ani was also arrested on Tuesday, on allegation of belonging to the Indigenous people of Biafra, IPOB, which he had earlier denied. 

Mathew said he was not a member of IPOB but that he belonged to Uwazuruike's BIM-MASSOB."

According to the MASSOB Director of Information, Mazi Chris Mocha, in a release to newsmen in Onitsha, 

Mathew is currently being detained at the Area Command's ceil in Onitsha.

"We have just engaged the services of our lawyer to ensure the early release of the men including that of an 87 year old man," he further disclosed.

Confirming the detention when contacted, the State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Mr. Tochukwu Ikenga, (DSP), said, "Our operatives working on reliable information, raided their office along Oyeagu Ifitedunu road on 25/09/2023 and a lot of incriminating items and unpatriotic materials that show disloyalty to the Federal Republic of Nigeria  were found.

"Meanwhile the case is still under investigation as I talk to you, reporter," he further disclosed.

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