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Lifestyle During the Biafran War

In the swathing heat and confusion, men, women and children scramble to put out fires and salvage whatever goods they can in a market after an enemy air raid. The frequency of air raids during the day forced civilians to assume nocturnal lives: running into the bushes and forests for cover during the morning and afternoon hours, venturing out only under the cover of darkness to cook, school, socialize, and trade in well-foliaged evening markets known in Igbo as ‘ogwumabiri’ or ‘ahia mgbede’. To fool enemy pilots, Biafrans covered their homes, automobiles, and virtually every other property that could be spotted from the air with plantain leaves, grass shoots, and thatch. In the event of an air raid, or upon hearing the whirring sound of Nigerian or Soviet jet engines, people would evacuate their motor cars, houses, and trains and run into the nearest bush for cover. Neither hospitals, schools, civilian homes, railroads, nor markets were spared.

Region: Owerri, Biafra.

Circa: 1968.



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