Abakaliki — 14 members of the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, were Wednesday arrested by men of the Nigeria Army and taken to the Headquarters of Ebonyi state police command for interrogation.
The nonviolent members of the group were headed to Onuimo LGA in Imo state for a national meeting in a charter bus when they were intercepted at Nkwagu district in Abakaliki Local government area of Ebonyi state.
In a press statement by the Director of Information of MASSOB, Mr. Uchenna Madu, the group condemned the incessant attacks and arrests of its members by men of the Nigeria Army, describing it as a cowardly act against a nonviolent group unlike the Boko Haram sect in the North.
Uche, who insisted that the arrest of the MASSOB members were intended to instigate artificial tension in Igbo land and scuttle President Goodluck's administration, demanded the immediate and unconditional release of MASSOB members detained at the Police Headquarters in Abakaliki.
He said: "14 members of MASSOB in a chartered bus on their way to MASSOB national meeting at Okwe, Onuimo Local government area of imo state was arrested at Nkwagu, Abakaliki by military men on checking point and transferred to State Criminal Investigation Department, SCIB, Ebonyi state police command.
"We condemn this cowardly act of the Nigeria Army who always attacked our non violent members with military might but shy away from violence prone areas including Boko Haram terrorist activities.
We demand their immediate and unconditional release from these security agents; they are pushing us to the wall and want to create artificial tension in Igbo land.
This is another ploy to raise tension in Igbo land and scuttle President Goodluck's administration. Among those arrested were Osita Obiajulu, Patrick Onyiba, Ikechukwu Nweke, Pius Nwangwu, James Ovu and John Enyi".
Confirming the arrest, the Ebonyi state police Public Relations officer, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP Sylvester Igbo who described the activities of the group as illegal and lacking permission from the federal government to operate stated that before the arrest, the suspects were seen in their uniforms, carrying flags and chanting MASSOB catchphrases while on the road
On whether those arrested were still in detention, Igbo could not immediately confirm as he enjoined the group to remain law abiding.