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The Biafra Story: Part Three

"The Biafra Story: Part Three"


In the period between May and October 1966, the Nigerian government engineered the first of many waves of indiscriminate violence targeted against the Igbo people. Under the command of Lt Colonel Yakubu Gowon and several other conspirators, the military, which had an upper echelon consisting mostly of officers of Igbo extraction, began systematically executing its Igbo officers. The "cleansing" of the armed forces of its Igbo personnel resulted in the termination of the Igbo military class outside of the Eastern Region.


In the North, where tensions were strongest, angry civilians along with radical Muslim clerics and traditional rulers began sporadically attacking Igbos in methods akin to those of the Jewish Holocaust. Mobs were reported to have broken into homes, places of worship, and offices to brutalize and kill the Igbos they found within. Properties and shops belonging to Igbos were ransacked, burned, and destroyed. Igbo women were ravaged and molested in mass-rapes, and in one particular case, a pregnant woman was killed by a mob, which proceeded to extract her unborn child.


In the other parts of the country, the story was the same. Throughout the country's roads, the military and the police staged blockades to prohibit Igbos from fleeing back to the East. As the Northern and Western regions became very inhospitable, over 2 million Igbos abandoned their homes and properties in various parts of the country and fled back their homeland in the East. The May-October massacre claimed the lives of over 100,000 Igbos.


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