- A Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Samuel Aniebonem, and five other people have been arrested by the police in Anambra state.
- Police says he belongs to the separatist group, the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
The arrests were made by the anti-kidnapping unit of the Nigeria Police Force in Awkuzu, Oyi Local Government Area.
According to MASSOB director of information, Mazi Chris Mocha, Fr. Aniebonem was arrested when he visited the State Criminal Investigation Department to inquire about his 87-year-old in-law, Chief Sylvester Dinyelu, who had been arrested earlier on suspicion of being a member of MASSOB.
Mocha said that the police arrested Fr. Aniebonem on the suspicion that he too might be a member of the movement.
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Those arrested with Fr. Aniebonem were Udebunu Anachuna, his driver, as well as Christian Ifeji, Johnson Anagor, and Kanayo Madu.
Mocha also said that a similar thing occurred in Onitsha on Tuesday last week when one Mathew Ani was arrested on allegation of belonging to the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Mocha called for a halt in the incessant arrests by police, arguing that such actions violated the right to free association and movement of citizens as guaranteed by the Nigerian constitution.
He said that the group has engaged the services of a lawyer to ensure the early release of the men, including the 87-year-old man.
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The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Tochukwu Ikenga, who confirmed the arrest and detention, said police operatives working on reliable information, raided the MASSOB office along Oyeagu – Ifitedunu road.
He said that a lot of incriminating items and unpatriotic materials showing the movement’s disloyalty to the Federal government were found there.
Ikenga said that the case is still under investigation.