Police detain Catholic priest, 5 others over alleged membership of MASSOB

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By Julie Sylvia, Onitsha

A Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Samuel Aniebonem and five others were on Wednesday, detained for purportedly belonging to 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

Recall that earlier in the week, three persons were arrested when the police raided the group’s office along Awkuzu/ Otuocha road, Ifitedunu, Dunukofia Local Government Area

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

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

His driver, Mr. Udebunu Anachuna, who drove the Fr. Aniebonem to the station was equally arrested alongside Mr. Christian Ifeji, Johnson Anagor and Mr. 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.

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“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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