PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s been a week since two additional members of the MOVE 9 were released from prison. The group was sentenced to 30 to 100 years behind bars for their part in a shootout that resulted in the death of a Philadelphia police officer.
“MOVE was innocent and didn’t kill that cop- and everybody knew it,” said Consuela Africa.
Members of the MOVE organization held a press conference in West Philadelphia Thursday to affirm their solidarity as a family, and to give Janine and Janet Africa, the most recent members of the group to get parole, a chance to address the public.
“Look how fit we are, look how nice we look,” said Janet Africa. “For real, I’m not braggadocious, but look at the health that John Africa gave us.”
She and Janine were released from prison last Saturday after 41 years. They both attribute the teachings of John Africa and a tight connection among members of MOVE to their survival.
“They had our backs and we rode on their strength and that made us strong,” Janine said.
Debbie Africa, who was eight months pregnant during the 1978 police shootout that ended with the death of Philadelphia Police Officer James Ramp, was released last summer. Michael Africa, Sr. was released soon after. Three members of the MOVE 9, Delbert, Eddie and Chuck Africa, remain in prison. Phil and Merle Africa died while incarcerated.
“We are not really in a celebrating mood just yet,” said Janine, “because our brother Delbert is still in there and we want to make sure he gets out because they beat the men, but they really beat Delbert.”
Ramona Africa, the sole remaining survivor of the 1985 MOVE tragedy, also attended the press conference after nearly a year-long illness. She says the group will never give up on freeing their brothers.
“On the MOVE and long live John Africa,” she said.
The group says it plans to live in peace and to work for justice and life.
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