Posted by News Express | 1 September 2014 | 3,189 times
A team of officers from the Imo State Police Command in the early hours of Sunday raided the administrative headquarters of the crisis-torn Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), in Okwe, Onuimo Local Council of Imo State.
A faction officer and the National Administrative Secretary of the movement, Mr. Ugwuoke Ibem Ugwuoke, informed The Guardian that a team of police officers stormed the area about 5:30 a.m. yesterday morning and carted away the MASSOB flag, phone chargers and other properties. He accused the command of a compromise with Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, urging that the MASSOB leader should be made to report to the police station in Owerri.
Speaking on the raid, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Abdulmajid Ali, noted that MASSOB’s activities were disturbing, expressing the determination of the command to ensure the embattled Uwazuruike answers the invitation of the police in Owerri, to explain how four persons suspected to be members of the movement allegedly died in his premises on August 20.
Ali however disclosed that no arms were recovered from the movement’s base, contrary to the information the command had received. He said Uwazuruike was still in hiding and denied any compromise.
Ali said: “We got information that they (MASSOB) members were having arms. My men went there early this morning but no arms were discovered. The man (Uwazuruike) has still not responded to the invitation. He is hiding. We cannot fold our hands and allow them (MASSOB) indulge in lawless activities.”
Ugwuoke, who spoke to The Guardian from his hideout in the bush, explained that the police team who came in four Hilux vans stormed the war veterans quarters built by the MASSOB authorities, adding that after they received a call, they were allegedly instructed not to touch the war veterans, rather the administrative base of the MASSOB currently occupied by the factional group who declared they had allegedly taken the leadership of the movement from Uwazuruike.
He claimed that about five houses were allegedly ransacked, carting away items belonging to other people who are not MASSOB members.
Said he: “They, SARS police officers came in four Hilux vans, stormed our administrative quarters and five houses in Okwe. They came to our headquarters. We are still in-charge and in control. They left about 9.a.m. They had entered veteran quarters when they received call not to enter there. No arrest was made. We are now in the bush. I suspect that Uwazuruike may have settled the police. He should respond to the invitation.”
On August 20, a faction of the group revolted, accusing Uwazuruike of not taking care of their welfare, rather he was alleged to have spent the about N20 million contribution from people in the area lavishly. They claimed they had taken over power from Uwazuruike. The leader of the group mobilised commanders from Onitsha, Anambra State. Four persons died during the crisis.
•Adapted from a Guardian report. Photo shows Uwazuruike.
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