Remembering Nigeria’s Biafra war that many prefer to forget

The deaths of more than a million people in Nigeria as a result of the brutal civil war which ended exactly 50 years ago are a scar on the nation’s history. For most Nigerians, the war over the breakaway state of Biafra is generally regarded as an unfortunate episode best forgotten, but for the Igbo people who fought for secession, it remains a life-defining event. In 1967, following two coups and turmoil which led to about a million Igbos returning to the south-east of Nigeria, the Republic of Biafra seceded with 33-year-old military officer Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu at the helm. The Nigerian government declared war and after 30 months of fighting, Biafra surrendered. On 15 January 1970, the conflict officially ended. The government’s policy of “no victor, no vanquished” may have led to a lack of official reflection, but many Nigerians of Igbo origin grew up on stories from people who lived through the war. Three of those who were involved in the secessionist campaign have been sharing their memories. Short presentational grey line

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