Four people were feared killed on Monday when members of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra clashed with a joint team of security men in Onitsha, Anambra State.
But while MASSOB claimed that the clash was an attack on its members because of the decision of the group to withdraw their support for the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the police declined comments on the incident. The Anambra State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Emeka Chukwuemeka, said he had not been officially briefed.
Director of Information of MASSOB, Mr. Uchenna Madu, who said he was speaking on behalf of the leader of MASSOB, Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, said the incident occurred in the early hours of the day and that the security team, made up of army,
police and State Security Services personnel, stormed the MASSOB headquarters along Onitsha-Owerri Road and allegedly opened fire on the members.
He said that at the end of the attack, four persons were felled while about 80 persons were injured. He said those injured during the incident were denied medical attention because they could not produce police medical permit.
Madu also said that about 18 vehicles belonging to MASSOB members and traders at the Mgbuka-Obosi, Old Motor Spare Parts Obosi, and 137 motorcycles belonging to MASSOB members were burnt and cash sum of N920, 000 was taken by the security agents.
The MASSOB spokesman also said 37 traders in the Old Motor Spare Parts, Mgbuka, sustained bullet wounds and were rushed to various hospitals for medical attention.
He alleged that the clampdown on their members was masterminded by the state government which he accused of not being comfortable with members of the group’s resolve to announce their preferred candidate ahead of Saturday governorship election.
Madu said, “This devilish act of cowardice meted on MASSOB was not unconnected with our refusal to allow our name to be used by some desperate politicians who wanted to score cheap political goal, using our platform.
“We had issued a statement distancing ourselves from supporting APGA and its candidate ahead of the governorship election in the state. We are very quite aware that the stand we took did not go down well with some highly placed persons in the state, hence, the attack was to disorganise us and browbeat us to submission.
“We hold Peter Obi responsible for the killings. This reminds us about the 2006 shoot-on-sight order by Governor Peter Obi who massacred about 2,000 MASSOB members.
“We shall arrest him and pay him back in his own coin in our own way immediately he steps down as the governor because his recent action of killing MASSOB members will heavily affect APGA chances of winning this election.”
The Senior Special Assistant to Obi on Media and Publicity, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, who said he was not yet aware of the incident, wondered why MASSOB was attributing it to the governor.
“Why are they calling the name of the governor?” he asked.