On Friday, 29th January, Nigerian separatists hijacked a merchant ship and threatened to blow it up with its foreign crew if authorities do not release Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Maj. Gen. Rabe Abubakar, the Acting Director of Defence Information, on Monday, confirmed the hijacking which he described as “an act of sabotage.” He however withheld the name of the ship.
Officers informed newsmen that a militant who assumed the noms de guerre, General Ben, gave the government a 31-days ultimatum to free Kanu or they will blow up the ship along with its crew.The officers further disclosed thatthe navy is in pursuit of the captured vessel.
On Tuesday, 3rd February, the Indigenous People of Biafra, and Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) came out to deny any involvement in the seizing and threat to blowing up the merchant ship.
According to IPOB Media and Publicity Officer, Mr. Emma Powerful, IPOB is a non-violent group with responsible men in the society in Nigeria and in diaspora as members and therefore, cannot involve in any violent activity that may possibly harm or take the life of anybody from within and outside Nigeria.
Leader of MASSOB, Mr.Uchenna Madu, said that the group has no hand in the alleged hijacking of any merchant ship or any threat to blow up the alleged ship, because they are non violent and have no weapon to hold any ship hostage, let alone seizing and threatening to blow it with its passengers.
Meanwhile, military authorities have debunked reports in foreign media that Nigerian militant group with sympathy to Biafra and IPOB hijacked the ship and are demanding the release of Nnamdi Kanu by the Federal Government before the ship will be released.
According to Brig-General Abubakar, it is untrue as. Though he confirmed the hijacking, he stated that the incidence didn’t occur within our waters adding that the hijackers are not under any group.
He said: “But it (ship) is currently being guarded by Benin Republic Navy. The name of the Ship is MT Leondias (9279927), a tanker. The ship is presently in Benin waters, about 7.5 nautical miles, off Cotonou Port under the watch of the Benin Republic Navy.”
Source: Vanguard|The Will
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