MASSOB Igbo Heroes Day Protest Turns Violent, One Policeman Reportedly Dead

MASSOB Igbo Heroes Day Protest Turns Violent, One Policeman Reportedly Dead

By Omos Oyibode | Staff Reporter on May 31, 2016
FILE: A MASSOB Procession
FILE: A MASSOB Procession

Thousands of members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, Monday, May 30, 2016 protested violently in Delta, allegedly killing one police officer, while one out of the two policemen who were thrown into River Niger is yet to be recovered.

The recovered one it was learnt was rescued through the concerted effort of members of the Nigeria police command in Asaba, and is to be currently gasping for breath at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Asaba, Delta State.

It was gathered that a faction of the MASSOB took the protest from the head bridge area of Asaba, while another faction started from the heart of Asaba.

As the two groups march from their different ends, they were accosted by the police at separate points, a development which infuriated the MASSOB members who threw two police officers into the River Niger, even as one has been rescued while search for the other was still on as at press time.

It was also learnt that another officer who was allegedly stabbed by members of the movement is at the intensive care unit of the same federal medical centre as at the time of filing this report.

Trouble was said to have started when members of the Nigerian police opened teargas on the MASSOB members who took to the streets of Asaba, calling for the republic of Biafra and the release of the leader of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu.

Kanu is presently standing trial for felony and has been in the custody of the Department of State Security (DSS) by the orders of the federal government despite several court orders to release him to his team of lawyers.

Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, is a pro-Biafra secessionist group that embraces the tenets of nonviolence. It is led by Ralph Uwazuruike, a lawyer.

At Abraka end, a suburb of Asaba, it was learnt that the MASSOB members were on a peaceful protest when the police officer opened teargas on them while at Mami-market junction close to Abraka, a Hilux Van belonging to the police was allegedly vandalized by the protesters.

An eyewitness said the action of the policeman angered the members of MASSOB who bounced on him, “they dragged his gun with him, at that process, the gun triggered and a bullet went off, ripping the leg of a staff of Total Filling Station and peeling off his skin”, stressing that “it was at this moment that the manager asked the staffers to vacate the premises to safer havens”.

Also at Anwai Road where the protesters also went, another police officer who also fired teargas was stabbed on his left leg, “the action touched his vein and he bled to death not that he was shot”, another eyewitness said.

Contacted, the acting police public relations officer, Charles Moka, said “I cannot give you information now, we are still in the field”.

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