Ship hijack: Military absolves pro-Biafra agitators

The Director of Defence Information (DDI), Colonel Rabe Abubakar, has disclosed that the ship that was allegedly hijacked by pro-Biafra separatists is currently in Benin waters.

He noted that though the ship was intercepted by those with criminal intension, it is now in safe hands.

Abubakar, however, said that the ship was not intercepted by members of pro-Biafra agitators as alleged in many quarters.

It would be recalled that a defense ministry source, had stated that a vessel was seized on Friday, about 160 kilometers off Nigeria’s Bakassi Peninsula, along Nigeria’s south-eastern Atlantic Ocean coastline, near the border with Cameroon.

The shadowy militant linked to the hijack reportedly threatened to blow up the vessel with its foreign crew unless the Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the Independent People of the Biafra (IPOB), is released within 31 days.

The ultimatum was reportedly given at the weekend by a militant identified under the assumed name of “Gen. Ben”.

The name of the ship, according to Colonel Rabe Abubakar, is MT LEON DIAS (9279927), a tanker.

Rabe reiterated that the ship is “presently in Benin waters, about 7.5 nautical miles off Cotonou Port, under the watchful eyes of the Benin Republic Navy.”

Meanwhile, the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has denied any link with the ship’s hijackers.

New leader of MASSOB, Comrade Uchenna Madu, vehemently denied working with any Niger Delta militant group or the hijackers who allegedly hijacked the Nigerian ship off the Bakassi Peninsula.

Madu said MASSOB did not believe in actualising Biafra through violence, and would remain non-violent in its struggles for the Biafra autonomy.

He said MASSOB would never resort to violence or take up arms against the Nigerian government no matter the provocations.

Madu accused the military of a deliberate ploy to link Biafran agitators with militancy as an excuse to declare war on them.

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