Catholic Priest and Five Others Detained Over Alleged MASSOB Membership in Anambra.
A Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Samuel Aniebonem, and five others find themselves in detention under the custody of the Anti-Kidnapping Section of the police in Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State. This detention follows allegations of their affiliation with the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
The incident unfolded when three individuals were arrested during a raid on the group’s office located along Awkuzu/Otuocha Road in Ifitedunu, Dunukofia Local Government Area of the state.
According to sources, Rev. Fr. Samuel Aniebonem, who happens to be an in-law to one of the arrested members of BIM-MASSOB, went to the State Criminal Investigation Department in Awkuzu. His intention was to inquire about the arrest of an 87-year-old in-law, Sylvester Dinyelu, and possibly secure his release.
However, upon arriving at the police station, Fr. Aniebonem was also taken into custody on suspicion of being associated with the non-violent and non-exodus movement, MASSOB. His driver, Mr. Udebunu Anachuna, who had driven him to the station, was similarly arrested. Alongside them, Mr. Christian Ifeji, Johnson Anagor, and Mr. Kanayo Madu were detained.
In a separate incident in Onitsha, Mr. Mathew Ani was arrested on allegations of belonging to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), despite his previous denial of such affiliation. Mathew clarified that he identified with Uwazuruike’s BIM-MASSOB instead.
Confirming the report, the Director of Information for MASSOB, Mazi Chris Mocha, stated that Mathew is currently being held in the cell at the Area Command in Onitsha. He added that the organization had engaged legal representation to secure the release of the detainees, including an 87-year-old man.
In response to these developments, spokesperson Tochukwu Ikenga (DSP) noted, “Our operatives, working on reliable information, raided their office along Oyeagu Ifitedunu road on 25/09/2023 and found a lot of incriminating items and unpatriotic materials that show disloyalty to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Meanwhile, the case is still under investigation as I talk to you.”
The situation remains fluid as investigations continue into the alleged affiliations and activities of those detained in connection with MASSOB and IPOB.