At least 358 members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), were arrested by the police, while five pro-Biafran activists were killed during a string of violent confrontations in the south-east of Nigeria on Monday.
In Delta state, the spokesman of the state police command, Charles Muka, said the protesters were killed during violent confrontation with security personnel, while others were arrested, The Cable reports.
He said: “We had to deploy our officers to ensure that the protest was peaceful but we were surprised that the people turned violent.”
“To our surprise, they started attacking our men and at Okwe Junction in Abraka area of Asaba, the group killed a police corporal and took his AK47 riffle.
“Also along the Dennis Osadeby Way in Asaba, they wounded a police officer and took his anti-riot gun.
“This group also attacked and wounded two policemen, suspected to be marine police, and threw them into the River Niger at Cable Point in Asaba and in the process one died and one was rescued.
“This brings the casualty number to two with two others injured on the side of the police.
“The protesters also attacked military vehicles along the Asaba-Onitsha Expressway which left four members of the group dead and eight others arrested and brought to the police headquarters.”
In Ebonyi state, policemen besieged Nkaliki Primary School, Abakaliki and apprehended over 320 persons, who converged to protest.
Confirming the apprehension, Moses Eze, a zonal leader of MASSOB, said clergymen, who were conducting service ahead of the rally, were also arrested.
“Over 320 of our members were arrested by the police during the Biafra Day celebration,” he said.
“Some of those arrested were just clergymen who we invited to conduct inter-denominational church service as part of activities marking the celebration. These policemen don’t seem to have respect for God, why would they arrest his people?”
Ebere Amaraizy, spokesman of the police in Enugu, told NAN that 13 members of the group were arrested in the Obiagu road axis of the coal city.
While in Imo state, the spokesman for the police, Andrew Enwerem, said the police arrested 17 MASSOB members for holding a road show in commemoration of 49th anniversary of Biafra.
Reacting to the apprehension, 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,” he said.
Nwogu called on Igbo leaders to “come out and speak for Igbo people who are being unjustly treated by security forces”.