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16.01.2010 Nigeria

MASSOB Leader Ralph Uwazuruike Detained

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San Francisco Jan 15, (THEWILL) – Ralph Uwazuruike, the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State for Biafra (MASSOB) has been arrested by the police ahead of the governorship election in Anambra State on February 6.

The group's spokesman, Madu Uchenna told the AFP that he was arrested and detained in Owerri, Imo State on Tuesday because of a petition to the Nigerian police by an individual, Pascal Okorie, who accused the leader of kidnapping him.

Uchenna also said Okorie was using the name of MASSOB to disrupt the February election and the MASSOB leader tried to stop him by holding him in his house.

Speaking about MASSOB, he said the group was a non-violent campaign organization founded in 1999 to revive the idea of an independent Igbo country. He said the group was neutral in the poll.

“We did not want to be involved in the election and therefore decided to prevent any individual or group from tarnishing the good name of MASSOB.”

Uwazuruike was acquitted for treason in 2008 after being held for three years in a Nigerian prison for championing the cause for an Igbo nation.

MASSOB is quite popular in eastern Nigeria but was banned by the federal government. The group has continued its demand for the creation of an independent Biafra nation.

The police would soon release the leader following “Useful discussions,” Uchenna told the AFP.

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