8 May 2005

Nigeria: 62 Massob Members Arrested in Abakaliki

Abakaliki — About 62 members of Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) have been arrested by joint police and State Secret Service (SSS) operation in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.

The suspected MASSOB members were arrested weekend at the People's Club, where they assembled to hold a meeting, disguised as members of a religious group.

THISDAY learnt that the police, SSS joint force arrived at the venue of the meeting few hours before MASSOB members came to the club.

As they arrived, the police, SSS joint team sealed up the place, intercepted the suspected MASSOB members and foiled the meeting, arrested 62 of the members who were planning to relocate the meeting venue to St. Mulumba Primary School, Abakaliki.

THISDAY gathered that the members of MASSOB from the whole South-east attended the meeting and that those arrested would be arraigned in court today.

Since February this year, police and SSS have joined forces to arrest MASSOB members in Ebonyi State, making it impossible for the members to gather together and the recent arrest is the third of such efforts.

With this last haul, more than 100 of MASSOB members have been arrested in the state and those who were arraigned in court were clamped in detention, pending the end of their case.

A police source, which confirmed the arrest, said the latest police policy on the actions of MASSOB was that the members who are alleged to be committing treason by their activities should not be allowed to gather together and when any one was arrested the person should be taken to court so that due process of law should be followed.

Also leaders of SSS in the state have been carrying out sensitisation campaigns in rural communities, which are known to habour MASSOB members and have urged traditional rulers and village heads not to allow the members to meet in their areas of jurisdiction.

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