Two members of the Chief Ralph Uwazuruike led Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), reportedly lost their lives at her 19th anniversary celebration in Onitsha.
The event which reportedly turned bloody following a clash with the Police, led to the arrest of over 10 members of the movement while about 15 sustained varying degrees of bullet wounds.
Addressing newsmen in Onitsha, Ogbaru Regional Administrator of BIM-MASSOB, Mr Amadi Ifeanyi (aka Ochiagha), wondered why police would open fire on a non-violent organisation.
He said, “We were hoisting our flag at about 2am Thursday morning, at Upper Iweka axis in preparation for the anniversary when the police stormed the place in three Hilux vans and allegedly opened fire on us at a close range, which resulted in the killing of the two members instantly.
“They arrested 10 of us and over 15 got bullet wounds, even when they knew that we are a non-violent organisation struggling for a Biafran state”
Amadi who spoke through his Director of Finance, in Ogbaru, Ezeaka Martins, identified those killed as Innocent Okoye and Uche Ezinwanne, demanding for the release of their corpses.
Also speaking, the Ogbaru Director of Security, Chuks Nnaedozie, gave the names of those injured and hospitalized as Clifford Nwankwo, Ndubuisi Ikpeazu Aloy Ibeh, and others yet to be identified.
On his part, Regional administrator for Onitsha North, Christian Umeaka revealed that one of his members had not been seen since he was arrested by the police when he went to hoist the flag.
“No amount of intimidation would stop us from struggling for a Biafran state,” he vowed.
Reacting, the Police spokesperson in the state, Haruna Mohammed said 12 suspects were arrested and over fifty flags with different inscriptions of IPOB/MASSOB and Biafran independent movements (BIM) recovered as exhibits.
He said the arrests were made following report that Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) moved out in large numbers along Asaba-onitsha express way in Onitsha at about 11pm with dangerous weapons.
He added that group hoisted flags of the proscribed group on poles and billboards in the area.
“Following the report, Police operatives rushed to the scene in order to prevent them from mounting the flags but they engaged the Police with catapults and stones.
Mohammed continued, “On the 22/05/2019 at about 7am, there was another intelligence report that some misguided elements suspected to be IPOB members were sighted at various locations mounting Biafran Flags along Ekwulobia-Uga road in Aguata LGA of Anambra State.
“Police patrol teams pursued them and arrested twelve suspects while others escaped.
“Exhibits recovered include 72 Biafran flags and items with biafran inscriptions. Case under investigation.
He insisted that the pro-biafran group remained a proscribed organisation and its activities remained illegal, assuring the Command’s commitment to enforcing law and order in the state.