The Biafran War was one of the most significant periods in Nigerian history. Read this article to know some of the facts of this conflict.
Every country’s history is written by a blood of its descendants. Nigeria is not an exception. Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970 is referred to the Nigeria’s black past. Let us observe some crucial facts of this war that evet Nigerian citizen is ought to know, as the nation that doesn’t know its past, does not have a future.
This war which is also called the Biafran war had political and ethnic reasons which appeared to be between the Hausas and Igbos.
Start of the war
It started on the 30th of May 1967 when the colonel Ojukwu proclaimed the secession of the southeast region of Nigeria as a new and independent nation. It was called the Republic of Biafra. It was not recognized by any world country except for Zambia, Haiti, Tanzania, Gabon and Cote d’Ivoir.
First Infantry Division
To fight back the taken territories, Nigerian government organized the police action. On the July 6 1967 federal troops formed into two columns and moved to Biafra. The Nigerian army moved to the North of Biafra and there the first infantry division was formed by local militaries. On the July 12th the left-hand column took the town of Garkem. On the July 14th the right-hand column took Nsukka.
The response from Biafran came very soon. On the 9th of August 1967 Biafran army moved to the mid-west part of Nigeria crossing the Niger River and the city of Benin. On the 21st August they were met by a resistance in Ore. However, it was too weak so they took the mid-west very soon.
Second Infantry Division
As a response to the actions of the Biafran the second infantry division was formed by Colonel Murtlala Mohammed. They had to fight back the mid-west and protect the Western part of Nigeria. On the 22nd of September 1976 Benin was taken back.
Third Infantry Division
Colonel Benjamin Adekunle formed the third infantry division and it was launched to Biafra by General Gowon.
A mass killing of seven thousands of civilians was carried when the Nigerian soldiers were capturing Asaba.
On the 17th October 1967 Nigerian soldiers led by Colonel Adekunle captured Lyyn Garrison and the territories between Opobo and Calabar that were protected by Biafran forces led by Colonel Ogbu Ogi.
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During 1968 the Nigerian forces could not advance to the key territories of so called Biafran territories as they faced a strong resistance. Areas such as Arochukwu, Umuahia, Abagana, Onuta, Ikot and Onne were still under control of the Biafrans.
Besides, between the April and the June of 1968, the Biafran forces took the Port of Harcourt, which led to a massive starvation amongst the civilians. Biafran forces claimed the Nigerian government in using genocide and hunger to win the war and they requested other countries to provide help.
Capitulation of the Biafrans
On the 23rd December 1969 Nigerian federal forces had an increased support from the British and launched a final offensive against the Biafrans. The cities Uli and Owerri fell on the 11th and 9th January 1970 respecively.
On the 13th January 1970 the Biafran leaders surrendered to General Yakubu Gowon and few days later the war had come to an end.
This war took lives of three million people, the majority of which had died of hunger and diseases.